Airline Fined for Requiring Female Applicants to Take Pregnancy Tests

In Iberia Airlines, prospective new female employees had to take a pregnancy test before becoming part of the cabin crew. Can you ever recall seeing a pregnant flight attendant? No? Well, if you’ve ever flown Iberia Airlines, there’s a reason: prospective new female employees had to take a pregnancy test before becoming part of the cabin crew. 

Why? Why, for the health of the expecting mother of course. 

Gender discrimination won a battle across the pond this month; women applying to become flight attendants will no longer be required to take a pregnancy test before beginning their new position.

Related: Flight Attendants Accuse Frontier of Nursing-Related Discrimination

Iberia Airlines navigated through stormy skies this month amid allegations that it treated its female cabin staff unfairly. Originally founded in Spain, the airline merged with British Airways several years ago to become the International Airlines Group. Iberia found itself fined for requiring female job applicants to take a pregnancy test prior to employment. As Spain’s preeminent airline, Iberia serves as the country’s national flag carrier. 

While it is generally accepted that women with an uncomplicated pregnancy can fly safely up to 36 weeks, the airline claimed that it administered pregnancy tests to potential new employees to protect them from any risks to themselves and their baby. 

Related: Study: Discrimination Has Serious Health Impact on Future Generations

However, not everyone saw eye-to-eye with Iberia’s required pregnancy tests.

Authorities in Mallorca fined the airline $29,000, citing gender discrimination. A controversy erupted regarding the issue of requiring pregnancy tests, and the airline acted to change its policy.

CNN reported on the story, and included a statement from Dr. Maria Teresa Garcia Menendez, an airline official with Iberia stating the airline would cease requiring new hires to take a pregnancy test as part of the medical examination:

“Given the controversy arising from the current protocol in place to protect pregnant women, we will no longer include a pregnancy test in the medical examination for new hires.”

One thought on “Airline Fined for Requiring Female Applicants to Take Pregnancy Tests”

  1. Equal does not equal “the same.” Not every acknowledgement of difference is “discrimination.”
    The primary responsibility of a flight attendant is the safety of the passengers. They are trained to preserve the lives of the passengers in the event of a crash.

    A woman who is 7 months pregnant is not the best candidate for a job that may, on any given day, include getting passengers off a plane that’s gone down in the ocean. It just isn’t. It’s also not the best job for someone who is pregnant to be on their feet for hours at a time, pushing heavy carts down narrow aisles and leaning over in confined spaces to serve snacks.

    I think we hurt everyone when we insist, in the name of equality and fairness, that everyone must be treated the same.

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