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BUSINESS

Airline Iberia fined for requesting pregnancy test for cabin crew jobs

Former Spanish flag carrier claimed practice was to avoid “putting women at risk”

Palma de Mallorca

The regional authorities on Spain’s Balearic Islands have fined Spanish airline Iberia €25,000 for demanding that women seeking cabin crew jobs undergo a pregnancy test as part of their application process.

The fine for Iberia is the first of its kind in the Balearics.
The fine for Iberia is the first of its kind in the Balearics.

Such a demand constitutes a serious violation of labor law on the basis of discrimination, the regional labor department found. Sources from the former flag carrier announced on Sunday that it would no longer require such a test and applicants will have the option of telling the airline whether or not they are pregnant.

Sources from the labor department explained that they became aware of the practice last year during a campaign aimed at combating discrimination in the workplace. Inspectors found that Iberia was setting out a series of criteria in its search for personnel, which were then passed on to the external recruitment firm Randstad.

Iberia argued that the aim of the test was to “avoid assigning a task that would put the pregnancy at risk”

This latter company was in charge of carrying out interviews and also would request a pregnancy test from applicants. Other medical check-ups were also required, both for male and female candidates.

In its defense, the airline – which, along with Aer Lingus, British Airways and Vueling is owned by the International Airlines Group (IAG) holding company – argued that the practice was commonplace throughout Spain and that it formed part of the firm’s medical check-up once candidates had passed one of the stages of the selection process. Iberia also argued that the only aim of the test was to “avoid assigning them a task that would put their pregnancy at risk.” They also claimed that they had never refused to employ someone simply because they were pregnant.

The case is the first time that a fine has been imposed for serious discrimination on the basis of sex on the Balearic Islands. The airline can appeal the decision with the regional labor department, although if the appeal is rejected they will have to turn to the courts to take the matter further.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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