Sunday, June 11, 2023

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Airline Fined for Telling Female Flight Attendants to Wear Makeup: Reports

A Spanish airline is facing a fine from labor inspectors after it was reported that the female flight attendants were being required to wear high heels and makeup while on duty.

The airline, Vueling could be asked to pay a fine of 30,000 euros ($33,000) amid claims that female staff members were expecting to board their flights wearing heels between 2 to 3 inches in height, according to local news outlets.

Spanish newspaper El Periodico reported that female flight attendants are under instruction not to use “artificial-looking or excessively long” eyelash extensions while eyeshadow that is not light gray or light brown is also prohibited.

The female flight attendants are also allegedly told to wear foundation that matches their skin tone, while only black eyeliner and mascara are allowed.

The report also states that while lipstick is allowed, it must be a “discreet” color. By contrast, male flight attendants had been instructed to simply maintain a “clean and neat appearance” while on duty. El Periodico noted that there are no instructions on what footwear men should wear.

Following a complaint from the workers union STAVLA, the Government of Catalonia’s Labor Inspection division determined that Vueling could adopt a “less burdensome and more balanced corporate image, without affecting fundamental rights of its workers,” according to the newspaper.

Laia Romagosa Ponce told Vueling’s Communications Department Newsweek that the airline is currently “studying” its options in relation to the fine.

“The procedure opened by the labor inspectorate in Catalonia, which is following its legal course, includes a proposed sanction that is not yet final, and the company has the right to present allegations, which it is studying,” Ponce said.

Ponce also noted that Vueling has been “reviewing its style guide and has been working on an inclusive image for more than a year.”

“We always consider the concerns of our stakeholders and together analyze their implementation. The company’s aim is to ensure their comfort and safety in any environment. In fact, the style guide was drafted with the approval of the representatives of the crew members,” she said.

“Some of the crew members’ suggestions have been progressively incorporated. An example of this is the revision of the guide with regard to the use of makeup, in which there is no gender distinction or obligation to wear makeup,” Ponce added.

A STAVLA spokesperson welcomed the ruling, which comes months after its initial complaint, telling reporters: “We have been vindicated, and we are studying further actions.”

The fine is significant, according to El Periodicoas it’s among the first to take aim at the aesthetic expectations around female airline staff in Spain.

Ernesto Iglesias, head of Flight for USO-Air Sector told the newspaper: “In foreign companies, issues such as makeup or heels are usually not mandatory, but in some Spanish companies, an archaic mentality still prevails.

“It also represents an extra cost for flight attendants, as they often have to pay for their own stockings or lipstick. We encounter resistance to eliminating these issues from collective agreements. They see it as something secondary or irrelevant when it is not.”

A Spanish airline is facing a fine from labor inspectors after it was reported that the female flight attendants were being required to wear high heels and makeup while on duty.

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