View Full Version : Human rights

22nd May 2001, 22:56
Heard today of an interesting labour issue -
in more ways than one.

A UK regional airline is being taken toan industrial tribunal by one of its female pilots. The lady in question got pregnant and was immediately grounded on full pay by the airline.

the airline contends this was necessary under health and safety responsibilities as their advice is that cosmic radiation may pose a threat to unborn child. CAA supports this. Lady pilot claims this a breach of her human rights as she should be the one who makes the call whether to fly or not.

Views please.

22nd May 2001, 23:22
A number of companies have precisely the same policy. A company will successfully argue in court that they are only exercising their duty of care for their employee and the unborn child, as too little is known about the effects of CR on an unborn foetus.

You think they care? They just don't want to fight litigation later over the alleged cause of birth defects.

Gentleman Aviator
23rd May 2001, 00:37
Human Rghts of the unborn child perhaps?


23rd May 2001, 17:33
She's lucky to not get terminated for failing to get an abortion, as it could be argued to be a self-inflicted condition.

It would make more sense to pull her driver's license to protect the child.

Alpine Flyer
23rd May 2001, 19:50
I'd understand if she'd protest being grounded without pay, but protesting against such a basic protection of women seems rather stupid to me.

Some lasses seem to put their ego above their child's welfare....

Bad enough that US (and maybe other) cabin crew still have to work while pregnant. We should fight against that, not for being able to fly while pregnant.

In our Alpine country a pregnancy causes immediate suspension of the license on medical grounds. Problem solved.

23rd May 2001, 20:04
Forgive my short memory but isn't there a clause in the medical that states that a female pilot can't fly during the first and last 3 months of pregnancy.

She shouldv'e been aware of this restriction and accepted the medical certificate with full knowledge. Surely, if a medical is temporarily removed the airline have no choice in the matter?

23rd May 2001, 20:32

I think you are right. I remember my wife had her medical suspended for the first three and last months of pregnancy. In fact she flew her first solo two days before discovering that she was about 5 weeks pregnant - debate in our house is whether this counts as a solo??

23rd May 2001, 20:35
From what i understand the medical is immediately revoked on confirmation of the pregnancy, however it can be reinstated at the CAAs discretion for a certain length of time.

I must say that seeing as the airline are still giving full pay i dont really see what she is so upset about. She would have known the airlines policy prior to getting pregnant, and it was ultimately her decision to get/stay pregnant.

Would she also have sued the airline if they let her keep flying and she lost the baby due to an incident/cancer from radiation??


23rd May 2001, 21:33
This is a "Sexist" and [ANY] "Phobic" post.
When we [not "Royal"] sign a "contract" we are deemed to have 'read and understood AND ABIDE' by same.
Every beggar and their dog is leaping on the bandwagon.
1 "you can't do x"
1a [email protected], I can...Human rights
2 That is not "right"
2a 'course it is.....Human rights
The "Services" have had their fingers burt over this and other probs
so..."take care" you may be next

23rd May 2001, 23:03
Wonder if same lady pilot would have tried to sue the airline if she had carried on flying and miscarried or the child was born with problems due to CR. Sounds like a money grabing excercise to secure a wad of cash so she will not have to return to work after baby is born.

23rd May 2001, 23:22
Perhaps she should have just said no......

Mr moto
23rd May 2001, 23:30
Doesn't do much for the prospects of employment for other female pilots, does it?

Bit of a shot in the foot for the cause of equality.

24th May 2001, 00:08
A "Certain" Mr Marx
"ALL men [ladies/other genders] are equal, BUT some are more equal than others!"

24th May 2001, 02:09
Would there not be an increased risk of sudden incapacitation due to being in the early stages of pregnancy?

If the answer is yes (significantly so) then she should be grounded.

No sexism in it at all.

24th May 2001, 03:46

You write that: "A UK regional airline is being taken to an industrial tribunal by one of its female pilots. The lady in question got pregnant and was immediately grounded on full pay by the airline."

I cannot understand quite what you mean by this. Are you sure you have the facts in the matter? If the lady is "grounded on full pay", then what possible ground does she rely on to take the airline in question to the Industrial Tribunal? It seems more likely to me that she has been grounded without pay.

And what exactly do you say the CAA supports? Is it the grounding on full pay or merely the potential (and alleged) effects of 'cosmic radiation'?

I am quite shocked and disappointed to read many of the posts in reply. How ready some of us are to jump onto this particular bandwagon of extreme prejudice. For my part I'd like to hear all the facts before leaping to condemnation of either her or her employer.

Come on Minogue, let's hear some more please. And, by the way, if the lady does wish to proceed on the basis of a breach of her human rights, as you suggest, then she would be wasting her time in an Industrial Tribunal.

[This message has been edited by tilii (edited 23 May 2001).]

24th May 2001, 09:05
Yep, I've seen it argued both ways over the past couple of decades. I remember a Navy pilot who sued to be allowed to fly while she was pregnant, and I've seen an airline pilot who sued to stay home with sick leave payed by the union when she found out she was pregnant.

PMS is a similar gender biased issue. For years some women claimed it had no effect, now some claim their schedules and sick banks should be adjusted to compensate.

24th May 2001, 11:38
The qoute was Lenin not Marx. Marx said something to this effect- everyone is entitled to make mistakes but Commrade X has exceeded his quota. His comment was directed at a certain fellow traveler in the US.

BTW maternity pilot uniforms are available at the airline I work for. As I suspect they are at every airline in the US.

24th May 2001, 15:01
What in hell is the matter with this lady???
Would you men want your wife to fly when she is pregnant??? I don't and neither did she. As far as I am aware, there is almost nothing known about any adverse effects on the babe caused by flying, so do you want to be a pioneer??? We didn't!!
It's all too bloody late to discover that something bad happened to the babe which you could have prevented.
AND she is on full pay, so where's the problem??? We were on unpaid leave.

24th May 2001, 16:32

What in hell is wrong with YOU?

Personally, I would wish to support my wife in whatever HER decision was as to whether or not to fly. And that, dear chap, is the point here.

You speak in terms I thought were long past, yet I am over fifty, overweight, wear glasses and have the odd pint.

I don't believe that this lady is on fully paid leave, and even if she were then it is still a matter for her in my view.

Frankly, I think the general tone of this thread is thoroughly reprehensible and some of the posts here are certainly not what one would expect from highly trained professional pilots. Sad thing indeed.

Bird Strike
24th May 2001, 17:09
A comment from me as a woman.

Assuming Minogue's converyed the story accurately...

If I ever got pregnant and the company grounded me on full pay, I would be so thankful to the company! The reasons that immediately spring to mind are 1) pregancy is not an illness but is self-inflicted, so it is generous of the company to offer the full pay 2) if I had not thought of the risks of flying while pregnant, I would be thankful to the company for protecting myself and the unborn.

I would have thought that the increased risks of incapacitation is present at any time during pregnancy, due to miscarriage or premature birth to start with? Also the risks to the unborn of the cosmic radiation has not been ruled out as far as I know. One thing I read is that the effects of any radiation is greater for the newborn than to child/adult, so maybe the same applies to the unborn.

Anyway, who's this company? I would love to work for them!

24th May 2001, 17:20
Bird Strike. The first sensible post on the entire thread!! Well said that lady.

24th May 2001, 20:35
I stand corrected.
BUT, I stand by my point.

David Clarkson
24th May 2001, 20:46
does the unborn qualify for air miles?

24th May 2001, 20:52
A couple of points -

What is the definition of "full pay", was her take home pay made up of base pay, and payment per hour of flying? In this case "full pay" may be significantly lower than average take home pay.

And playing devils advocate, is it possible the lawsuit is being conducted with the support of the company in an effort to change their current contract with pilots. ie "We would love to ground you on full pay Mrs X, but ever since Mrs Y sued us we can't"

Bottom line is we don't have enough information

Legalapproach - Lets hope it does count as a solo, otherwise its down to the CAA to try and explain why a student pilot was carrying passengers ;)

[This message has been edited by Pdub (edited 24 May 2001).]

Magnus Picus
24th May 2001, 23:29
We are all failing to mention that the CAA are prepared to recognise significant levels of radiation that may harm the unborn foetus but on the other hand are not prepared to recognise the long term effects this has on pilots and cabin crew.

1) Anecdotal evidence has always suggested that levels of cancer in flight crew is always distinctly more than average, yet the only scientific studies that are given support by the media/management are the studies done by the medical professionals who are employed by the airlines.

2) Bearing in mind that pregnant women are urged not to undergo X-rays during pregnancy, isn't it strange that the operators (Radiologists) always stand behind a lead lined screen? What about the operators of Aircraft?

3) Why does the senior pilot I flew with who works on the consultative group for BALPA as the 'expert' on these matters, never fly above FL330?

4) Why is it that the media can report on the above average solar radiation in April that "May knock out Satellites", due to Solar Flare activity, yet our companies can't warn it's pilots to stay out of the higher Flight Levels?

Sorry to ignore your plight ladies, it's just that I'm a man and judging by some of the female posts here, I get the impression that you would consider my thoughts on human rights invalid due to my posession of a pair of testicles.


24th May 2001, 23:54
To those who have queried, the facts are as I state them. The lady is grounded on full pay + allowances. It is against the sex discrimination act to discriminate against anyone on grounds of pregnancy so for the airline to do any less would be an open and shut case and would cost them a fortune.

The case rests around who should take the decision to ground. Should it be the company under duty of care under health and safety legislation or the individual under
the new Human Rights Act. The potential loss to the lady concerned is loss of flying experience and hence I guess potentially loss of future career opportunities due to less flying hours than otherwise would be the case.

Have to say some of the comments have been sadly sexist and the guy who senses a company conspiricy probably believes that Elvis is still alive and that the moon landings were faked.

Have to say that I rather admire what would appear to be a principled stand by the lady concerned although I disagree with her on the issue itself. Shades of disagreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it.

25th May 2001, 00:55
By your reply, I [as a person of the male gender] can claim,
a. I cannot get pregnant, therefore I have a claim for "distress" [Lack of fulfilment]
b, I cannot get pregnant, so I claim under the sex descrimination act...of course
"Some" peeps are really Real

25th May 2001, 01:13
Elvis isn't dead , he just went home ;)

Sorry for causing offense, don't actually believe that is the case.

The flight time limitation is a legimate concern of course, say a month before she is sure she is pregnant, that would mean 8 months before the child was born, plus say 4-5 months after the birth before she gets back to work. You're looking at over a year without any time logged.

25th May 2001, 08:12
The lady whose desk is outside my office door isn't a pilot. But when she miscarried 10 weeks into her pregnancy she would have been just as incapable of flying as she was incapable of typing, telephoning and filing. It was a medical emergency.

Its just common sense to avoid risks like that. Women get pregnant, and pregnant women suffer miscarriges. Usually without warning. So what is all the fuss about?

THrough difficulties to the cinema

25th May 2001, 14:31
What is wrong with you lot ?

The lady in question does not have a valid medical so she cannot fly.

If I (temporarily) invalidated my medical by getting p*ssed out of my skull would I get suspended on full pay ?

Gender discrimination doesn't come into it. The restriction on flying when pregnant applies equally to all pilots, male AND female.

Or - to make a more serious point: a lot of people fail to get a Class 1 medical because of colour vision defects. This is genetically linked and affects males far more than females - so can we now sue for human rights and discrimination ??? And this is permanent - the lady is only grounded for a few weeks, for heaven's sake !

25th May 2001, 17:36
It is very difficult in life to not be, -ist, be it racist, sexist or whatever. If we were all exactly equal in everyway, height, colour sex etc, thinks would be fairer, but we are not and things aren't. I am a white bloke with a 20 year old Son and a 4 week old Son and this is my opinion; The lady is pregnant and that is a medical condition. In the early stages of pregnancy physical and physiological changes occur which could affect her flying/decision making skills temporarily and worse still without warning. If she is off with full pay then she should enjoy it while she can. She may of course feel that it is her decision but others lives could be at risk so the medical aspect has to come first. i think the first and last 3 months rule (if it is correct) is probably quite a good one, but again, pregnancies are funny things. Maybe the pregnancy wasn't really planned and she is sub-consciously rebelling against her unintended lack of choice. We all sign contracts of work and I presume that this was covered in hers. i wish her all the best as a Mum, and can only say that I don't have an answer only an opinion.

Remember opinions are like arseholes, everyone's got one.

25th May 2001, 23:00
Grainger says:

"... a lot of people fail to get a Class 1 medical because of colour vision defects. This is genetically linked and affects males far more than females ...".

And PFD says:

"The lady is pregnant and that is a medical condition".

Then PFD speculates as to: "[m]aybe the pregnancy wasn't really planned and she is sub-consciously rebelling against her unintended lack of choice".

Life itself is genetically linked. The fact that we (most of us anyway) happen to have two eyes, a nose, two ears, and so on, is genetically linked. So what is your point here, Grainger? Perhaps you, like PFD, believe that pregnancy is a MEDICAL CONDITION!!!

For goodness sake, chaps. Wake up and smell the coffee, please. Pregnancy is most certainly not a medical condition. It is merely the carrying of a fetus in the womb (something we chaps find it GENETICALLY impossible to achieve). Oh yes, the medicos would wish to TREAT it as a medical condition, perhaps for reasons of self-preservation. But is it really? Think about it.

And, friend PFD, don't you think your supposition as to the lady's pregnancy being both unplanned and, apparently, a RAPE is more than a little over the top?

TUT, tut, tut ... and tut again!

Mr moto
25th May 2001, 23:22
Tilii. there is no suggestion of rape. The point is that she did not choose to be grounded.
Its a good theory though. It would mean she was psychologically unfit. Either way, its not her choice, other than getting pregnant(which isn't in itself a right).

From what my wife and some of our friends have been through, I would personally not like a pregnant women in the cockpit!

And that's not sexist!

26th May 2001, 16:43

My point is that the lady does not have a valid medical certificate at the moment so the airline is _not allowed_ to let her fly.

Which part of that do you find difficult to understand ?

If you disagree with the conditions for the Class 1 Medical then complain to the CAA Medical division, but don't blame the airline or me !

You used the term "medical condition". I didn't.

The point about colour vision is rather obvious. This lady is complaining of inequality because she is in a condition that invalidates her medical cetificate and that this condition only affects females. So my point is that there are other conditions that affect only (or mainly males).

As PFD so eloquently puts it: it would be great if we were all the same, but we are not.

26th May 2001, 17:26

If you want to spend your time arguing about the meanings of words, as in your definition of "medical condition", then knock yourself out.

Here's the facts:

JAR-FCL 3.040 Decrease In Medical Fitness

[(c) Holders of medical certificates shall, without undue delay, seek the advice of the AMS, an AMC or an AME when becoming aware of: ]

[(3)] being pregnant,

shall inform the Authority in writing of such injury or pregnancy, and as soon as the period of 21 days has elapsed in the case of illness. The medical certificate shall be deemed to be suspended upon the occurrence of such injury or the elapse of such period of illness or the confirmation of the pregnancy, and:

[(5)] in the case of pregnancy, the suspension may be lifted by the Authority for such period and subject to such conditions as it thinks fit (see JAR-FCL 3.195(c) and 3.315(c)) and shall cease upon the holder being medically examined under arrangements made by the Authority after the pregnancy has ended and being pronounced fit to resume her functions as a member of the flight crew.

So whatever you may think, the case is clear-cut. Complain to JAR if you want.

If the lady can get the suspension lifted under 3.195(c) and 3.315(c) then good luck to her.

Or are you arguing that it is OK to fly without a valid medical ??

27th May 2001, 14:31

In with anger out with love, OOUUCCHH!!

I'm guessing that you read my post and replied immediately, big mistake when something gets you pissed off.

I said "unplanned pregnancy" this is not a rape. Many couples have unplanned pregnancies, or don't you know any real people?

I used medical condition because that is the way the FAA, CAA, JAA will look at it. Who would you rather have at the controls when you're in an Autoland situation and at 300' the FLARE decides to disarm itself, someone who is 100% medically fit or someone whose blood sugar could suddenly drop, for no apparent reason, leaving them faint and disorientated.

I say again, I wish the lady all the best, but it really is best for all that she doesn't fly until she is proven to be 100% capable again in all respects.

I apologise to you if you felt offended by my opinion, but I could have got on my band wagon about the subject of the post which was "Human Rights". When thousands of Rwandans were murdered for being from a different tribe, I think that may have been a breach of Human Rights. Being suspended on full pay??? Think about it.

Regards PFD

27th May 2001, 15:33
Oh, dear.

What a sanctimonious pair of twats are Grainger and PFD.

Look, gentlemen. I am not offended by anything you posted, merely saddened. In my opinion you are both sexist in the views expressed and I do not approve. Simple as that. Do not allow yourselves the luxury of believing even for a moment that I care about what you have to say to the extent that I would complain to the CAA, or JAA, or whoever.

I have no difficulty understanding either of your posts and, Grainger, it was PFD who used the term "medical condition", not I.

And, PFD,if you read again your post, it does seem to me on literal interpretation of the words you chose to employ that "rape" is implied. Perhaps you might choose your words more carefully in the future, or is that asking too much?

All in all, I think this matter ought to be put in the garbage bin from whence it originated. I wish the lady in question all the best in whatever she CHOOSES to do, including, if that is her will, taking the airline in question to court to defend her rights. If she is right, she will win her case. If not, at least she had the integrity to fight for what she believed was a worthy principle - irrespective of the 'chaffer' she hopefully has not read in this rather base, and demeaning, thread.

Oh, and PFD, since you seem to have a view with regard to what is, and what is not, a breach of human rights, what about Article 8 of the Convention, now in UK law via the Human Rights Act 1998? Has not this lady an enforceable legal right to respect for her private and family life? In other words, should she not be able to go about her business in the matter discussed here without interference or attack from Minogue, or any other poster on this website? And let's not forget that such attack is, to all intents and purposes, done from behind a cloak of pseudo-anonymity.

I recommend that this thread be canned on the ground that it is entirely unworthy of our fine website and is in breach of the professional esprit de corps valued by most right-thinking PPRuNers.

[This message has been edited by tilii (edited 27 May 2001).]

Sir Algernon Scruggs
27th May 2001, 16:33
Tilli, you start your last commentary with the sentence "What a sanctimonious pair of twats are Grainger and PFD" and then go on to claim "I am not offended by anything you posted, merely saddened." and finally quote "I recommend that this thread be canned on the ground that it is entirely unworthy of our fine website and is in breach of the professional esprit de corps valued by most right-thinking PPRuNers.".

Being what I consider to be a 'right thinking PPRuNer' I find your methodology rather crude and machiavellian. If you don't agree with the others do us all a 'professional courtesy' and delete the offensive, opening line in your last post because your otherwise well written piece will be regarded as extremism and make 'sanctimonious' appear to be more acceptable.

As has been pointed out there are 'Human Rights' and human rights'.

27th May 2001, 18:30
Sir Algernon

We are to assume, since you assign it to yourself, that you are a "cad" and a "boundah". Why, then, should I heed your unwarranted criticism of my post?

And thank you for the compliment, though I will withdraw nothing. I stand by every word.

Good luck with your pursuit of what you describe as "yobs". May we know how you personally define that term? Presumably your definition includes anyone who defends himself in kind against abusive and insulting remarks.

[This message has been edited by tilii (edited 27 May 2001).]

Sick Squid
27th May 2001, 19:19
As this thread has now ceased to be a debate on an aviation rumour and has turned into a handbags-at-dawn "He said, She said!" session, it can no longer hold a place on the PPRuNe pole position...

Off to Aircrew Notices with y'all...

Sick Squid
Rumours and News Moderator