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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Flight Attendant applicants Ordered to Strip Down to Their Underwear During Interview

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A group of female flight attendant candidates were told to strip to their underwear so that recruiters may physically check them for scars, birthmarks, tattoos, and other “unacceptable” signs or defects. This prompted Spain’s Ministry of Labor to open an investigation.

According to several of the victims who spoke with Spain’s El Diario about what happened, the alleged assault happened at a hotel in Madrid that was conducting an open recruitment event for Kuwait Airways but was organized by a third-party agency.

On November 5, 2022, the victims had gone to the Meliá Barajas hotel in Madrid, which is adjacent to the city’s main airport. There, the Gulf-based employment firm Meccti had rented out conference rooms for what amounted to an open casting call for potential flight attendants.

Open casting, where recruiters travel nonstop to locations all over the world in search of the “perfect” applicant, is a very frequent practice among Persian Gulf airlines. Some airlines only hire women to work as flight attendants, and recruiters may receive a list of physical appearances to consider.

One of the victims in this situation revealed to El Diario that shortlisted candidates had been ordered to remove everything but their underwear and enter a room where recruiters may check their bodies.

During the initial interview, a 23-year-old victim who has only been known as “Bianca” claimed that some applicants were passed over and rejected because the recruiter didn’t like their smile or because they had pimples.

She recalled how one of the recruiters ordered her to open her mouth and “looked inside as if I were a dog, he almost put his eye in my mouth to see my teeth”.

Bianca says the candidates who made it through the initial cull were then called into a room one by one where a female recruiter looked over them. The recruiter asked Bianca to raise her dress further up her legs but when she only lifted it to knee level, the recruiter lifted it all the way to her panties.

“The dress had a zipper on the back and she asked me to lower it to my waist,” Bianca continued. “I stayed in a bra. She said it was to see that we didn’t have scars, birthmarks, tattoos.”

Mariana, a 23-year-old victim, claimed that young, talented women were rejected because of their moles or minor facial scars. A woman who had braces and another who had glasses were both turned away.

Being rejected for having the “wrong look” is widely regarded to be prevalent in the mysterious world of flight attendant recruitment, yet it is incredibly uncommon for recruiters to express these reasons for rejection in writing.

In places that are not ordinarily visible when wearing the airline uniform, the majority of airlines no longer demand examinations for scars or tattoos. Due to differing employment rules, even airlines that hire internationally won’t perform these kinds of physical examinations in a third country.

The Spanish Ministry of Labor has begun an investigation into this matter and may send it to the prosecutor’s office.

The actions taken at the recruitment event have been referred to as “intolerable behavior” that “violates the dignity and fundamental rights of these women,” according to Minister of Labor Joaqun Pérez Rey.

“It incurs discrimination in access to employment, and collects data that is absolutely irrelevant to the selection process,” Rey continued.

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