Fri, Oct 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

‘Bomb scare’ flight attendant to be reinstated in job

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) has vowed to appeal a Taoyuan District Court ruling that asked the airline to rehire a former flight attendant who was fired after falsely claiming that there was a bomb on a flight that the president was scheduled to take last year.

The flight attendant, surnamed Huang (黃), who participated in the airline’s labor strike in June last year, said that he told authorities there was a bomb on the airplane that was scheduled to take President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to Panama and Paraguay last year because he wanted to raise public awareness about the plight of CAL flight attendants were facing.

Before Huang was officially indicted by prosecutors in August last year, the airline transferred him to the ground staff department in July.

The New Taipei District Court sentenced Huang to serve three months in prison in October last year, and the airline subsequently fired Huang in November on the grounds that his misconduct had damaged its corporate image.

Huang filed a lawsuit against the airline, saying that despite the company having learned of his misconduct when prosecutors indicted him in August last year, the company waited until Nov. 7 to terminate his employment, which exceeded a 30-day period stated in the Labor Standards Act (勞基法).

His employment at CAL remains valid, he added.

Huang was moved to the ground staff department first out of concern that he might use his job as a flight attendant to flee to another country to avoid sentencing, the company said, adding that it waited until October last year to cancel Huang’s employment because that was when Huang was convicted of criminal charges and the company had completed an internal investigation.

However, a Taoyuan District Court judge said that Huang had admitted to making the false claim about the bomb when he was interrogated by prosecutors on June 25, ruling that the company choosing to fire him on Nov. 7 had indeed contravened the 30-day period stated in the Labor Standards Act.

The judge ruled in favor of Huang and ordered that his job at CAL be reinstated.

Huang had been found guilty by the New Taipei District Court for severely disrupting order in the airport and aviation safety, the airline said in a response to the ruling, adding that, while it respects the court’s ruling, it has decided to appeal the decision to show its determination to uphold aviation safety.

“The job of flight attendants should be to protect passengers whenever there is an aviation safety incident. They must not make false alarms, frighten passengers, cause panic or severely compromise aviation safety simply because there is a labor-management dispute. We will not tolerate the same thing happening again,” the company said.

“The nation is governed by the rule of law, and people who break the law should be punished. Flight attendants, who passengers entrust with their lives, are not an exception. Society expects a lot of them as well,” it said.

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