Saturday, January 03, 2009

Gender discrimination at Korean Air?

Korean Air flight attendantsKorea's National Human Rights Commission has accused Korean Air of gender discrimination in regard to its flight attendant hiring practices. According to news reports, the state human rights watchdog told the airline "to stop the 11-year-old practice of excluding men when advertising for cabin crew." There are only about 400 males among Korean Air's nearly 4,000-strong flight attendant work force.

The AFP news agency reports that Korean Air recruits male flight attendants only from among its ground staff and not from the general public; the airline has not recruited new male cabin crew since 1997. In a statement, the National Human Rights Commission said, "Korean Air has been advised to correct its practice, which is seen as gender discrimination banned by law."

The airline responded with a statement of its own, saying that it "cannot accept the commission's recommendation, which ignored our strategic position."

The National Human Rights Commission's advice is not legally binding, however an official said that if Korean Air does not comply, the commission may ask the Labor Ministry to take punitive action, which could include a fine.