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In July last year a Chicago flight heading to Hong Kong experienced a frightening sight. The plane had finger painted pictures on the tail that were threatening and “devilish”. 13 flight attendants refused to fly and as a result were fired.
At the back of the plane in oil slick an unknown person had drawn two faces one smiling and the other frowning with a troubling expression – The words bye bye clearly written were included. When the flight attendants saw this they demanded that the airline perform a deplane, fearing a security risk and potential explosives on board the plane, which had 300 passengers. When this was not performed the staff refused to fly, this resulted in the flight being cancelled and their termination from the airline.
The Federal Aviation Administration performed their “comprehensive safety sweep prior to boarding” and the airlines “flight operations, safety and maintenance teams appropriately investigated and determined there was no credible security threat.” It is alleged that the airline accused the flight attendants of ‘insubordination’ and fired them all even though collectively they had 299 years of experience, each with at least 18 years with the airline.
The flight attendants request to be reinstated with back pay and compensatory damages.
The flight attendants allege their termination was a violation of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, a law which protects whistleblowers in the airline industry from retaliation for reporting air safety issues. But the airline argues that all mandatory safety checks were conducted and the plane was safe to fly.
2014 was a horrific year for aviation and many would condemn the actions of the flight attendants. However airlines impose safety regulations to the highest standards of all modes of transport. These health and safety policies and comprehensive checks before each flight are the back bones to why air travel is the safest in the world.
If you or your staff are unsure of the health and safety regulations within your company call Employsure today on 1300 651 415. Our Workplace Health and Safety Team is here to advise you on the best workplace practises to ensure that all of your staff are safe whilst at work.
*Information sourced via the Sydney Morning Herald.