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Vueling fined $32K after female cabin crew staff told to wear high heels

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Spanish labor inspectors from Catalonia have fined low-cost carrier Vueling after the airline received criticism for how it treated its female cabin staff members.

Local sources claim that the Spanish airline ordered its female cabin crew personnel to work while wearing high heels and makeup.

The labor organization STAVLA, which was representing the cabin crew employees, brought the case to the attention of the Catalan government’s labor and workers department.

Female flight attendants are not permitted to wear eyelash extensions that are “artificial-length or looking,” according to the Spanish daily El Periódico, and any lipstick must be in a “low-key” color.

Female employees apparently received instructions to use a foundation that matches their skin tone and were only allowed to use black mascara.

Also, female flight attendants’ shoes were to have heels that were between two and three inches high.

Male crew members, meanwhile, were only asked to keep a “clean and nice appearance” and were not given any guidance by the airline regarding footwear.

The airline was fined $33,000 and told it could still maintain a business image in a “less burdensome and more balanced way, without affecting the fundamental rights” of workers.

A potential sanction is included in the procedure that the Catalan Labor Inspectorate started.

Presently, Vueling is researching the procedure to make accusations in accordance with its legal rights.

According to Vueling, the airline has spent more than a year “reviewing its style guide” and developing an “inclusive image.”

“We always consider any concerns that our crew may have and these are factored into decision-making and implementation,” a spokesperson for Vueling said. “The company’s aim with the dress code is to always ensure comfort and safety in all environments. In fact, the style guide was drafted with the cooperation of the crew member representatives.”

They added: “In addition, crew members’ suggestions have been gradually incorporated. An example of this is the adaptation of the guide with regards to the use of make-up, in which there is now no gender distinction or obligation to wear make-up.”

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