Sat, Jun 19, 2010 - Page 2 News List

China Airlines fined over discriminating height requirement

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday gave a NT$300,000 fine to China Airlines for discriminating against shorter people with a height requirement for flight attendant applicants, and failing to change the recruitment advertisement after receiving warnings.

The airline violated the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) by running an advertisement on its Web site in April recruiting 92 flight attendants that required female flight attendants to be at least 160cm tall and males at least 170cm, Taipei City’s Department of Labor Affairs said.

The department convened an employment discrimination committee on Thursday to discuss the case and determined that the airline’s requirement constituted workplace discrimination and violated labor laws.

Chen Yeh-shin (陳業鑫), commissioner of the department, said the airline canceled the height restriction on May 21 during the first-round interviews and instead asked applicants to touch the overhead compartments as a test, but it failed to remove the height requirement in the ads.

“The airline would not violate the act by demanding interviewees to touch the overhead compartments as a requirement. Setting up a height requirement and denying some people the opportunity to apply for the positions is discrimination,” he said yesterday.

The company had defended the requirement by saying the crew had to be tall enough to reach the compartments.

Chen said the company would be given 30 days to file an appeal.

Yesterday’s case made the company the first airline to be fined for setting up a height requirement for flight attendants since the act was amended in 2007 to ban requirements concerning birthplace, height, weight, appearance and age.

The department yesterday also fined Seasons Hotel Group NT$100,000 for firing a middle-aged female worker in May last year for wearing glasses.

The hotel required all female workers to wear contact lenses, but did not require male employees to do so.

The worker, surnamed Su, filed a complaint with the department last year. Chen said the committee on Thursday determined that the hotel violated the Gender Equality in Employment Act (性別工作平等法) by setting up unfair requirements targeting female workers.

The hotel yesterday argued that Su was fired for her poor language ability, and said it would file an appeal.

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