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Too Fat To Fly?

Air India is firing employees who are over their BMI standards for “safe” flying. However, many are skeptical for their reasoning because of the overwhelming difference between the expectations of women when compared to the expectation of men to have the regimented weight deemed acceptable.

According to the BBC, a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18 to 25 was deemed acceptable in men, while 18 to 22 was approved for women. The department also called for regular health check-ups for all cabin crew. In order to measure BMI, individuals need to compare their height versus their weight. Conversely, BMI is not always a realistic way of measuring someone’s health.

Some of the fittest people, such as bodybuilders, long distance swimmers and other athletes, etc. would be considered obese by BMI charts. Many believe that the move is actually about getting rid of older, well-compensated women in favor of younger ones who will do the job for less money.

So who’s right?

Legally, Air India has fought back and won cases against women or men who filed suit against the company for their original stricter standards back in 2004 and 2009. The plaintiffs claimed weight and gender discrimination. Nevertheless, the judge sided with Air India in the case because the argument was that the employees knew the job requirements when they signed up and never expressed concern. Furthermore, appearance and physical fitness are vital parts of an attendant’s job. When India reviews a candidate, they examine their skin, teeth and height.

There should be no scars, acne, or any major marks on the face. They also claim that the candidate should have a pleasing personality and should be able to carry him or herself with confidence and be ready to serve others; because after all, this is the job of an air hostess and a male steward. The company is basically stating that the air hostesses and male stewards know of the company’s policies before taking the job, thus, they should follow the guidelines or they will be fired. Here in the United States, airlines used to have weight restrictions for flight attendants but the companies got rid of strict and harsh policies because of the amount of damages that were paid in lawsuits, it wasn’t worth it.

Some have argued that sexism, contrary to popular belief, actually favors women. GoAir, a rival of Air India, has stated that it hires mostly women because they weigh less than men. Thai Airways has also regulated weight on their flight attendants, grounding mostly men for having higher numbers on the scale. Regardless, it’s still embodying a discriminatory practice, favoring one group over another based on harsh ideals. For Air India, back in 2009, an Indian judge stated that the airline, Air India, should be focused on good conduct rather than the appropriate weight. Weight is not congruent to competence.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Overall, the guidelines can be seen as arbitrary and discriminatory or a safety measure. It really depends on the specific case and wording of policies as well as knowledge of said policies before being hired for the job. If employees are thrown into a new set of rules regarding their employment, they deserve time to compensate and prepare for these new policies or they rules must be fair. If you or a loved one is fired or under duress because of an employer’s discriminatory practice, you may be entitled to compensation. Workers have rights that should be fairly recognized. If they aren’t, call the employment lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. We will stand up for your rights. Dial (727) 451-6900 today.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
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727-451-6900

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