Flight attendants enjoy many perks as part of their profession. There is the ability to travel, have a flexible schedule and make a decent wage. However, the longstanding stereotypes where they are objectified or sexualized stubbornly remain part of the deal.
According to a new survey by the flight attendants union involving 3,500 members from 29 different airlines, more than one-third of the respondents claim that they have been verbally harassed in the last year. Of that group, more than 68 percent claimed that it has happened at least three times in a year while the rest claimed that they had been harassed five or more times.
Common examples of these actions include:
- Propositioning the flight attendant
- Requesting pornographic videos or pictures
- Sharing sexual fantasies
- Making inappropriate or lewd comments
Often the actions would include comments about how the flight attendants spend their off time or references to the “mile high club.” Some customers would go even further by inappropriately touching, kissing or even slapping the flight attendant.
Male attendants as well
Male flight attendants are quite common these days. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that 20 percent of the respondents were men. “Harassment isn't just a problem faced by women,” flight attendant union president Sara Nelson told CNN Money. "I've seen incredible harassment towards my male flying partners."
Airlines getting on board
Like other businesses, airlines understand that sexual harassment in the workplace needs to be taken seriously. The CEO’s of United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines have all written open letters of support to eliminate this type of behavior on the planes and in the offices. While it is the right thing to do, they also understand that lawsuits are expensive and damaging to the reputation of the airlines.
In light of the rise of the #MeToo movement, these three airlines will likely be joined others in condemning this behavior and take steps to better protect the staff. If a company does not offer satisfactory support of your claim, an attorney with a background in business law can be helpful in protecting the rights of you and other employees.