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BA Pilot's sex discrimination case. (Update: Now includes Tribunal's judgement)

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BA Pilot's sex discrimination case. (Update: Now includes Tribunal's judgement)

Old 29th Apr 2005, 19:16
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Excellent post Konkordski - does she really think she can walk into a highly skilled and expensive to employ profession , and then 5 minutes later hold that same employer to ransom just because she changes her lifestyle and chooses to live 150 miles away ?

She's done a big dis-service to women pilots,her colleagues ,and maybe in the long run ,herself .
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 19:17
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I have looked at this whole subject at length for a few days before I made input of my comments.

Its simple in my mind. I think this lady has more cheek than a sumo wrestler. Her piddling amount of experience is nothing compared to her peers and as I see it she spat in their faces - and BA's.

I note that BA are approaching the CAA "for guidance on the safety matter" and I hope that the CAA will advise them that they should not alter them for this poor excuse for a loyal pilot.

I think that BA should dispense with her services as soon as possible. The attitude that a family is more important than a job is fine - just don't expect to find the job waiting when she determines her return when she has had enough children. If she does go back watch out OP's she will be ringing in to say she can't make it because one of the kids has mumps/measles/cold/cough/nappy rash/thrush/runny nose/kept her awake/needs feeding...............................please fill in all I have forgotten.

BALPA will be, or should be, cringing at the lack of support for their pathetic agreement to this case.
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 19:20
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And again another good post CaptainFillosan,she has also spat in the faces of all her colleagues,as BA is dseperately trying to save every penny it can , and along she comes and costs them a whole lot more with virtually zero productivity - well done
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 19:20
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If the said lady had requested 50% part time to look after her terminally ill partner would the views expressed by some of our more pre-historic members still be the same?
To say that she knew the rules of the game before she joined would seem to indicate that these peoples outlook on life has not changed since they embarked upon their chosen career.
Things happen to us all which may adapt our requirements from our job. If our company is willing or obliged to meet these requirements why should the workforce be so anti this.
I suggest that all those people that have lambasted this lady think long and hard if there are ANY circumstances in their own lives which could make part-time working a preferable option to being forced out of a career that they love and have worked hard to achieve.
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 19:52
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The difference presumably being, ifaxu, that she and her husband chose to have children.

Had the situation you described occured, I dare say that the situation would not have transpired as a result of choice. Consequently I would suggest that the two situations would not be considered in the same way.

I'm only calling this the way I see it, on the basis of what has been written in the thirty-odd previous pages. Many people who have a beef with this decision do so because the occupants of Starmer Towers made a choice to have kids with what appears to the casual observer to be a '...and bugger the company" attitude.

What is as significant about this case for me personally, just as much as the verdict, is the fact that we can seemingly right what has been referred to by many as an inequality by swapping it with, in my view, just as big an inequality. Humour me for a moment, if you will....

By that, I mean that any pilot granted a part-time working contract (and again I'm referring to a general situation rather than this specific case) will continue to accrue seniority at the same rate. Meanwhile while those who are left working the line have to firstly help pick up the slack left by the lack of resource (i.e. they have to work harder - and elsewhere on these forums are BA pilots talking of how they already feel worked to the bone) while only gaining seniority at the same rate as those who work half as hard.

This, to me, seems inequitous. Yet nobody seems to have picked up the banner of righteousness on this issue.

And what'smore, it has been shown that more women both apply and are granted part-time working within BA than men. Consequently, I conclude that male pilots are going to be disadvantaged by this inequity in the rate of accrued seniority disproportionately moreso than women.

I'd say that, on the basis of the transcripts from the tribunal, might well be a case for playing the sexual discrimination card....

Finally, a day or three ago somebody said that if this sets a precedent, it will create jobs. That may be true, but here is some food for thought;

If it does, will they be part time jobs or full time?

If new staff get taken on to fill the manpower gap left by those going onto PT contracts, what would happen if, for any socio-cultural reason, many of those PT workers came back to work therby creating a manpower surplus?

Once the kiddies have grown up and left home, maybe they would want to come back to work. If/when the pensions crash really bites, perhaps they'd be forced back into FT work. Perhaps when they've accrued enough seniority for a captaincy they might feel more inclined to go FT again. There are many possibilities.

What happens then? Does BA just end up with a bloated workforce and hence become uncompetitive? Do the pilots taken on as back-fill recieve their cards ("Sorry darling, but you're no longer needed...")? Or do those on PT contracts get told that they simply can't come back full time?

And, if the latter, will we see more tribunals?

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Old 29th Apr 2005, 20:29
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psychometric testing!

I feel assured now after reading through this thread that the basic psychometric test profile for our national carrier requires successful results only from neandertal low brow moron alpha males, or cropped headed hairy legged wimmin who don't feel an affinity with men, thus there is no real input from either sample into the global gene pool.

A cunning stunt by management!! They'll have you paying for your type ratings next.

Is the real issue simply that some of you Alpha male neandertals can't cope with the fact that your little lady is just as capable of handling the big iron as you are?

Or perhaps that, if you are a female, wimmin pilot, that you don't like the cut of the gybe of the sort of girl that might want a baby and a life outside the cockpit?

I hope I'm wrong, but have another look at the above posts.

I'm sure the psychometric profiling could be one reason why there seems to be a difference in success in legal precedent between the commercially orientated, intellectually more sophisticated, revenue positive cabin crew, who do seem to be able to get their act together, and the plane spotting workaday proles we now find in the right seat at the airline formerly known as the world's favorite.

Think about it.

decisive attitude

Oh, would a pilot who had an engine failure on take off accrue seniority and experience at a higher rate as his mates who had no major issues on the line?

Is a first line flight on type any more dangerous for the trainee crew and passengers than a normal flight?

I think not, so your point about experience is what exactly?

Last edited by hec7or; 29th Apr 2005 at 20:49.
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 21:13
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Would a pilot who had an engine failure on take off accrue seniority and experience at a higher rate as his mates who had no major issues on the line?
No, of course not. Where did I infer that it would?
Is a first line flight on type any more dangerous for the trainee crew and passengers than a normal flight?
Again, no.
I think not, so your point about experience is what exactly?
I would agree. I think, however, you missed the point; which was simply that somebody who flies for the company on a full-time contract, flying 800-900 hours a year, would only accrue seniority at the same rate as somebody on a part-time contract, presumably flying 400-450 hours per year.

Ergo, they both have the same amount of time to wait until command, the same amount of opportunity to bid on better routes and so on. This is despite the fact that one person is working full time for the company (and contributing full-time levels of productivity for the company) while the other person working PT (for whatever reason at all) spends half the time away from the job in a way that doesn't directly contribute to the productivity of the company.

I never mentioned once that this was a safety issue. I did state that I personally see this is just as much of an inequality as the case that has formed the basis of the discussion here.
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 21:27
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That post is without doubt the most complete and utter rubbish I have ever read on PPruNe, and I've read a lot over the years. It does neither you, nor the cause you appear to be supporting any credit at all. None of the points you make deserve to be commented on so I won't bother and hope no one else does either. If that's the only level you can join the debate at, please don't.
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 22:46
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Latest news on the grapevine - JS has been offered 50% by BA as per the ruling and has now refused it. Funny that, seeing as she'll now get her maternity pay based on 75% and not 50%.

This is only rumour control - don't shoot the messenger.
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Old 29th Apr 2005, 22:53
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I hope you are joking - doing a few hours flying , dragging her employer through the courts and press and then REFUSING the one thing she was fighting for ????

Well, she really deserves all thats coming to her now, i'm sorry.

You don't get anywhere in this game being a greedy queue-jumper , especially without a bit of real hard graft first.

The nerve of it all - she is making a farce out of her colleagues ,demeaning the real value of special circumstances for real hard workers and all that comes with it.
There is a shortage of airbus pilots and many trying to get p/t after 10-20 years service.

I would not want to be on her next flight - if she ever operates another one .... with 2 children in the offing, and with her husbands captains salary leaving her 'unable to afford childcare'

Whatever next ? Madness.
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 02:26
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If that rumour's true, I think her maternity pay will be based on the full 100%.

See the summary by Flying Lawyer -
March 2004: Application for a contract variation to 50% refused. BA offered a 75% compromise. She declined the offer.
September 2004: Returned to work, not having flown for 19 months.
Has used her leave ďand other meansĒ (direct quote from the judgment) to take time off pending the outcome of her claim against BA.
ie She's still in theory working 100%.

Whatever people may think of her one way or the other, nobody's suggested she's anything other than one very shrewd, determined and tough lady who knows exactly what she wants for herself - and how to get it.
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 06:46
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Anti-ice. Perhaps this might be aconsolation and a solace for your soul:
A week is a long time in aviation as it might be in politics and those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.
JS is seemingly so propelled by hubris that one can only wait, with a degree perhaps of Schadenfreude, for her moment of Icarian tumble.
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 08:47
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I don't have practice rights in the UK. But I do know something about antipodean tribunals Ė of which we have many.
In Oz, tribunals similar to the UK Employment Tribunal are not courts. In most cases, there is a right set out in the Act that establishes the tribunal, to appeal to a court on an error of law.
Also in Oz, a party to Tribunal proceedings may be able to apply to a court to seek judicial review of a Tribunal decision, as if there were legal errors in it.
From a distance, it seems as if there are conflicting pieces of legislation. The Tribunal has ruled on the matter before it within the terms of its own legislation. However, I doubt if it is a court.

Are there not UK Air Navigation Rules and Orders made pursuant to other legislation that go to safety standards? And are there not specific Rules and Orders that go either directly to flight deck competency standards (and minimum hours), or call up other regulations that specify such standards? Or are there regulations that empower an operator to determine such standards? Is there not an obligation imposed on an aircraft operator to adhere to such standards? And donít these rules and standards apply to all pilots, irrespective of gender?

Does what Ms S wants comply with all of the above?
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 13:03
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The short anser to each of your questions, except the last, is Yes.
Your final question:
She complies with the minimum legal requirements, but not with BA's requirement regarding part-time flying.
The tribunal didn't accept that BA's additional requirement was necessary.

In summary ....
BA imposes more stringent requirements than the minima required by the CAA through aviation legislation. (So do many other operators.)
The Tribunal said it acknowledged BA's right to do so, but then went on to say it wasn't persuaded that this particular requirement was necessary.
BA considers that, even if fleet resources and/or budget constraints woud allow, the number of hours flown, and the period in which those hours were flown, should be taken into account when deciding whether a particular application can safely be granted. ie It's prepared to allow newly-qualified and inexperienced pilots like Mrs Starmer to fly 75%, but not as low as 50% until they've gained not only more hours but gained them in a concentrated period of flying.
Note: At the time Mrs Starmer applied, her application failed on resource and budget grounds, so the next stage (flight safety considerations) didn't arise.

BA's flight safety stance was considered by the Tribunal (despite objections by Mrs Starmer's lawyers) but, having considered it, the tribunal rejected it: "We are prepared to give some weight to the notion that, after training, a pilot benefits from a sustained and concentrated period in performing her job. We find however that BA has not given any cogent evidence as to why it would be unsafe or in any way unsuitable for the Claimant or other pilot to fly at 50% of full-time."
(ie The tribunal didn't accept that it would be unsafe or in any way unsuitable for even a brand new frozen-ATPL holder to immediately fly only 50%.)

The Tribunal heard evidence from senior BA pilots as to why it was considered necessary and witnesses called by Mrs Starmer who said they thought it wasn't. NB: As a matter of law, it was for BA to prove the requirement was justified. The tribunal considered that actual "data" was necessary if BA was to satisfy them on this point and that, as a long-established major employer, that BA should be in a position to supply statistical data to justify the policy if it was in fact justifiable.
Some might think that smacks of circular reasoning. Given that BA doesn't allow inexperienced pilots to fly only 50%, it's not easy to see what 'data' they'll have to prove that a more relaxed system would cause safety problems.

BA's argument was that it imposes requirements which it considers to be necessary and, where flight safety is involved, trial and error to see if reducing requirements/standards has any adverse effect isn't appropriate. That approach didn't find favour with the tribunal.

NB: This case does not create a legal precedent. ie Another tribunal might well come to a different conclusion re the flight safety aspects.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 30th Apr 2005 at 13:23.
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 16:50
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I have a burning question FL!! In what capacity were the tribunal members able to say that BA is right to impose their own safety standards and then be not persuaded that they are right to do so? How can they state that in this case it was not necessary! That sounds like a dangerous statement to me. Who among the three is familiar with the complexities of flying and BA in particular.

How were they able to make decisions against BA when they are not (presumably) in a position to understand the ANO (who is) and therefore make a vital judgement such as this.

Somehow I feel that they have taken sides but I guess I am using my imagination too much! Maybe!

Then, of course, I may be missing something amongst the thousands of words written here.
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 18:18
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Presumably the members of the Tribunal never fly or if they do, they don't fly BA. If they did, how would a PA announcement as follows go down with them:

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Welcome on board. Your first officer today is.....and this is their first trip back after 19 months off. They tell me that though they haven't flown a lot, they used to be able to Hack It and have promised to give it a shot anyway. I will let them fly the first leg just to get the feel of things again. Don't worry, if they really cock up then I will step in and try to put it right, hopefully before it is too late."
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 22:16
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Jessica may have raised negative comments about women pilots in PPRuNe, however, look at this delightful response to a similar problem - in the India Times http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/a...ow/1093800.cms

NEW DELHI: Flying Officer Anjali Gupta's alleged insubordination and arrest will however not deter the Indian Air Force (IAF) from scaling down the recruitment of women in its ranks.

On the contrary, IAF officials say that women are playing an important role in its operations.

Gupta, 30, currently being court-martialled in Bangalore on charges of indiscipline, insubordination and financial irregularities, has accused three of her seniors of sexually harassing her.

But this has made no difference to IAF's outlook towards women.

"The women officers are absolutely compatible in the air force and they have been performing very well since they were first inducted in 1993," IAF spokesman Squadron Leader Mahesh Upasani told IANS.
"There are no plans to scale back their recruitment," he added.
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Old 30th Apr 2005, 22:24
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Wake UP!!!

Trouble with people today is no one wants to take responsibility
For their own actionsÖ.. Children are not a fashion accessory,
If you canít look after them yourself, donít have them!!!
Remember kids donít ask to be born!!!!
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Old 2nd May 2005, 11:21
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Thumbs up

In the interest of keeping some semblance of order on these forums I have decided to merge all new posts on this very interesting and topical subject in the new thread which was started by Dave Fielding, the BALPA rep who has kindly provided some much needed insight into the case.

The debate can be followed in this thread: Jessica Starmer - BALPA's view

The level of debate has been encouraging and the number of editorial interventions have been few save for the occasional ill-thought through reply which displayed the posters lack of intelligence. I would like to thank everyone who has participated so far.
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