CUPE files human rights complaint against Air Canada for systemic discrimination and harassment of flight attendants

CUPE files human rights complaint against Air Canada for systemic discrimination and harassment of flight attendants

The Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed a human rights violation complaint against Air Canada for systemic discrimination and harassment of flight attendants.

“Our complaint states that Air Canada, through its policies, procedures and practices, fosters harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and this must stop now”, said CUPE’s Air Canada Component Vice-President Beth Mahan.

The complaint alleges that Air Canada’s policies on uniforms and makeup, including ‘modelling’ of uniforms, are clearly discriminatory towards female flight attendants on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and race.

According to the complaint, the new onboard service managers (OBSMs) also contribute to the toxic environment in many ways:

  • The OBSMs who perform in-flight assessments of flight attendants categorized as service directors are causing fear and intimidation in the workplace.
  • Many OBSMs have also made sexist, racist and homophobic remarks to and about service directors and flight attendants, and have engaged in inappropriate behaviour towards flight attendants of both sexes.
  • Many OBSM evaluations have resulted in service directors being demoted.

The complaint also asserts that Air Canada has tolerated discriminatory and harassing behaviour by managers on the ground. CUPE’s Air Canada Component decided to file a Human Rights complaint after reports of inappropriate behaviour were not dealt with appropriately by the company.

“We now turn to the Canadian Human Rights Commission since Air Canada has repeatedly failed to deal adequately with harassment and discrimination complaints by our members”, concluded Mahan.

CUPE’s Air Canada Component is asking the Canadian Human Rights Commission to order an overall review of Air Canada’s policies, procedures and practices in relation to harassment, and to eliminate the problematic OBSM program.

CUPE represents 8,500 flight attendants at Air Canada mainline and Rouge.

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