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.
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.
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.”