Spain’s Vueling Airlines penalised for ordering female cabin staff to wear make up

BUDGET airline Vueling has been hit with a €30,000 fine in a landmark decision over discrimination between female and male cabin crews.

The penalty was imposed by Catalunya’s Labour Inspectorate after a complaint from the Stavla cabin crew union.

Barcelona-based Vueling- part of the IAG group- is studying the ruling and has the right to appeal.

It’s the first-such adjudication in Spain over cabin crews with the Inspectorate saying that Vueling committed a ‘very serious infraction’ by forcing female employees to wear heels and make up while their male colleagues only required ‘a clean and groomed appearance’.

The discriminatory demands against women included details like the height of their shoe heels, which have to be between five and eight centimetres.

Before each shift, they have to apply make up which has a base of their own skin tone and to apply mascara on eyelashes which can only be black.

The rules go further by specifying female staff cannot wear eyelash extensions of ‘artificial length or appearance’; eye shadows cannot be light or brown; and lipsticks have to be of ‘a discreet tone’.

In contrast, there are no specific requirements for male staff in regard to footwear or make up.

The Labour Inspectorate said that Vueling can achieve a corporate image ‘in a less onerous and more balanced way, without affecting the fundamental rights of workers’.

Vueling said in a statement that it has been revising its style guide and working on an inclusive image for more than a year.

“We always collect the concerns of our groups and jointly analyse their implementation,” they said.

The low-cost airline maintained that ‘some of the suggestions by crews have been progressively incorporated into the guide, like the use of make up which now currently has no gender distinction or obligation’.

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