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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 10th Jan 2005, 13:26
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Pilot's sex discrimination case.

I’m not a great fan of the relentless links to vaguely-aviation related articles that we sometimes have on here but I do think that THIS is a cause worth highlighting.

We all know that flying professionally can put a difficult enough strain on family life and so one can only begin to imagine the difficulties that being a professional pilot and a working mother must cause.

I, for one, feel that as an industry we should be doing more to accommodate the needs of our colleagues who for reasons such as being a working parent or say, looking after a sick relative, wish to go part time for a while; and to that end, I wish this young lady all of the very best with her appeal.

BH
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 14:12
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At the risk of being a little controversial, I'll be the first to reply and wait for incoming fire. I'm not a pilot but can add my two penneth from an employer’s perspective. Isn’t this all getting a little silly? Yes of course the lady is entitled to spend time with her child, but presumably she has already been on the receiving end of maternity leave. I'm afraid in todays PC & equal opportunities world things are going a little too FAR.

Put simply you can't have your cake and eat it, it's unreasonable to expect any employer to make 'blanket' concessions to all employees with young Kids or sick relatives (I have both myself), each case must be reviewed - within a framework - on an individual basis. Reading between the lines BA seem to be saying that not only has she only been around for 4 years (I'm guessing a chunk of which has already been whilst on maternity leave) but she has below the expected level of flight experience - probably due to the afore mentioned leave to qualify for rostered time of less than 75% f/t hours, so what’s wrong with that?

Presumably pilots will have a different view - as if the lady concerned is flying part time, by definition there will be greater hours available to others on the roster. It’s really about time people started to wise up a bit and stop expecting Companies and their shareholders to fund their ‘life’ choices regardless of what they may be!
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 14:15
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To be fair...BA do offer 75% working opportunities. Is her BA pilot hubbie also taking part time working opportunities? Or does she want a decent salary for working 7 days a month on a 50 % roster? I can see why BA would baulk at offering this to a pilot that would appear to have very little experience to fall back on to compensate for lack of handling. However, common sense doesn't always win out so I wouldn't be surprised, (or disappointed) if she won this case. Just feel sorry for the other pilots on the fleet that have to pick up the slack.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 14:42
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Pilot reduces working to 50%

Cost of employing Pilot reduces to 50%....


WRONG

He/She still has the same days "off roster but paid" in simulator/sep/medical/route check as pilot on 100% working. Does BA have to pay a reduced Loss of Licence premium? What about the uniform BA provides, is the replacement period doubled?

Perhaps the REAL cost of 50% working would be a salary of 40%.

With regard to experience levels, would the 50% worker accept that they would be no where as experienced over the years as the fellow pilot on a 100% roster? Would they accept twice the time to command to compensate?

Why not 25% working?

Where will it all end?
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:00
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Being a mum and working as an airlines pilot seems pretty tough to me, hard enough to have a social life with no kid.
If her husband flies to....not much chance to take care of a kid. It's simply prettyy rough when both partens are working such demanding jobs

So the way I look at it the company should make an effort to facilitat a kid in that family (after all we do need kids).

Now, she wanted to work 50%? But BA only accepted 75% ? (if I understood it right) Here's a tought...make both parents work 75%. that leaves equally amount of time for the kid and that was the reason for her to work 50%....wasn't it?
If they don't like it then they aren't doing it for the kid, she simply wants more spare time...
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:14
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Interesting to see a different attitude from Sweden where they have a very different outlook on these issues.
All comes down to what you believe in. I have sympathy for both views. In "real life" I err on the side of thinking she is taking the michael somewhat. But like the man says, what's more important ? The Q1 financial results of Moneymaker Airlines, or bringing kids into the world ?
Or rather what SHOULD BE more important ? I know what I think

By the way I also favour a 4 day working week
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:18
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It is impossibly unfair on employers and fellow employees to demand a 50% roster schedule-quite a nightmare for that department as well.
The game rules are well known and, as in many other professions, baby time should be factored into pre flight planning.
Such fulminations as we see displayed here in the guise of fair opportunity are nothing more than a delicious justification to restrict female pilot entry and are a joy to the heart of a good old Chauvanist such as me Pity Chauvin, he was only a patriot.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:20
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Agreed as it stands cheetah

I think there should be a level playing field. We should all work less.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:24
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Being a mum and working as an airlines pilot seems pretty tough to me,
So perhaps there is a choice to be made here. Airline pliot or mum or mum with less demanding job. She cannot have her cake and eat it.

Where I work, there are a couple of guys with young kids. I have no malice towards these kids, but the rest of us are getting a little p*ssed off with continually having to take up the slack as one or other of these guys has a day off for doctor/dentist/little johnny's ill.

Now, she wanted to work 50%? But BA only accepted 75% ? (if I understood it right) Here's a tought...make both parents work 75%. that leaves equally amount of time for the kid and that was the reason for her to work 50%....wasn't it?
Spot on
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:39
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Angel

patdavies, I agree with you entirely - she can't have her cake and eat it. She should perhaps look towards getting a less demanding job.

If she does only work 75% at the moment, then that seems pretty fair IMO. Suppose you owned an airline, which by chance, employed all female pilots. What if you had to then give them all 50% time off for the same reason. You'd end up having to employ twice as many pilots with twice the admin costs, effort, etc. Where does it all end?

She'll probably win her case though.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:40
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Some interesting points. But, let’s face it, isn’t this an exact case in point with what’s wrong with our industry? i.e. The idea that pilots are entirely disposable commodities to get rid of as and when it doesn’t suit?

Instead of looking after her and thinking “well, she’s 26, so, in theory she could be a loyal staff-member for the next 29 years” the general consensus is to “bin her” to solve the problem. OK in the short term, but in a few years when and if the predicted ‘pilot shortage’ happens or even when there is a shortage of experienced staff because of the current recruitment squeeze, she’ll probably be flying for someone else, who gave her a break after she’s finished looking after the kids. . . .

I just find it really, really sad.

Just my 2p. . .

BH
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:42
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I fail to see how this is in any way sex discrimination.

If a man under the same circumstances said he wanted to fly 50% to spend more time with his family then I presume the airline would also have said no.

I believe that 50% is available, but to pilots with sufficient experience to maintain a safe and efficient operation, and that has to be the airlines first priority.

The other crew members and passengers have a right to expect a certain standard of recency and experience, and whilst managers and others do fly fewer hours than line pilots they are usually well etablished in their careers first.

Having only obtained just over a years worth of flying in the last five years (according to some of the press reports) I think it is not unreasonable fro BA to act in the way that it has.

If it DID give special permission because she was a mum, yet rejected similar requests from dads then that WOULD be sex discrimination.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:44
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One wonders how she would be fixed at a low cost airline...

Its not a particularly friendly occupation for those with young children is it ? Arent only 2 % of UK ATPLs Female ? Probably explains why - voted with their feet?
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:46
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I understood the rules allowed for part time work on the basis of job sharing for parents with young children.
I also understand the company can refuse to give part time working only if they are able to justify it. In a company as large as BA I would have thought that was unlikely.

She is damned if she does damned if she doesn't.

The chauvinists will always bring up the argument that she should stay at home, however she is also trying to do the best fro her child by trying to be at home whilst the youngster is young but also giving it an excellent role model in having parents who work hard for a living.

With a small company I understand the difficulties of job share working but surely in a large company such as BA they can find another parent or someone else looking to reduce their hours to accommodate this.
And no I don't think this opens up a floodgate of claims.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 16:49
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Yes indeedy PD. Make him a Training Captain, make her a Line Captain. Then at 50% each all is happy. Crewing only needs one standby Captain as hubby can fly either seat. All is sweetness and harmony. Alternative plan: put baby up for adoption to well known parliamentary family, thus presenting sprog with benefit of US passport.. Ensure male rights upheld by making all women pilots work harder than us because they started the problem in the first instance and in any event, if they are to be believed, have to work harder than Captains Courageous in the first place.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 17:14
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I made a comment recently on another thread where I pointed out that employers like M.O'Leary were shy of employing female pilots for exactly this kind of reason...and I got my face eaten off for having the nerve to even suggest it might be a consideration.

So much for the PC brigade then.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 17:15
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easyjet offer 50% contracts and 75%. There are a few Mothers as Captains working 50%.

I dont see why she shouldnt have it, if after all BA have chosen to employ a large proportion of the female pilot community they should take into account that they will be mothers at some point. It all looks very PC to have lots of women pilots- but nature calls!
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 17:24
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The Daily Telegraph also had an article about this case.

Apparently BA will only grant Ms Starmer 75% because they deem it inappropriate for pilots with less that 2,000hr to be given 50% contracts. The article went on to indicate that BA has many flying mums who work a 50% contract because they have the required number of hours. That seems fair to me & I can't see that BA is being sexually discriminatory.

Presumably, BA pilots' part-time working deal was negotiated with BALPA and the experience requirements became part of the Ts & Cs.

Anyway, how long has she got to wait until she gets 2,000hr so that this is no longer an issue?
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 17:38
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Started flying in 2001 and has less than 2000 hours. Seems like she has been part time up till now anyway!

Typical BA attitude. The company exists only to provide it's super-race employees with a healthy income without impinging on the social life.

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Old 10th Jan 2005, 17:42
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I saw the article in question on BBC Online and felt the need to come across here straight away. I'm not a pilot (a student actually), but I'm shocked and appalled by this lady's behaviour. She obvious should know the rules that BA set, which I'm guessing haven't changed before or after the birth of her daughter. Why does she think it is right for them to discriminate in her favour by allowing what she wants over all the other people who've asked for the same?

I think it will be a great shame if she wins her case.

Jordan
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