A group of Russian flight attendants who sued their employer for allegedly discriminating against those who are not young, slender, and pretty has lost their court battle before it even began after a Moscow judge dismissed the case entirely.
According to Irinia Ierusalimskaya, a former stewardess with Russia’s national airline Aeroflot, the company established offensive regulations last year that required all female flight attendants to stand between 5’2” and 5’6” and wear either a small or a medium.
Those flight attendants who did not conform to the new expectations found themselves slapped with demotions, pay cuts, and undesirable overnight shifts.
The new rules were not publicized to employees through normal channels of communication, the complainants said. Rather, they were rolled out in secret and it was only after flight attendants began putting the pieces together that they realized what was going on.
“All stewardesses were photographed, measured, and weighed by the airline in June last year, supposedly to have new uniforms ordered,” Evgeniya Magurina told a local news outlet, adding that several flight attendants had their routes changed shortly thereafter.
“When my boss looked at my photo, he said, ‘Zhenya, you know, your cheeks are too big for international flights. And you have big breasts, so you should be wearing a sports bra. This is the way they explained to me the new rules,” Magurina claimed.
In counter to the lawsuit, Aeroflot cited Russian labor regulations that allow companies to establish discriminatory rules so long as they are necessary to the business’s operation. As such, imposing weight and height restrictions on stewardesses can be excused by citing “limited working space on the aircraft,” with Aeroflot claiming that larger flight attendants have increased difficulty moving around the cabin without inconveniencing passengers.
Customer satisfaction was also a big reason for the change: “Clients of Aeroflot prefer young, strong, and attractive flight attendants. Attractive flight attendants are also a great advertisement are also a great advertisement for the airline,” a company spokesperson said.