EVA Airways yesterday announced that it would fire a flight attendant who said in a Line group chat that she would add “extras” to a specific pilot’s food, as her remark had caused panic over flight safety.
The attendant, surnamed Kuo (郭), was fired after EVA’s disciplinary committee decided to give her two demerits and dismiss her, the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union said.
Screenshots of Kuo’s remarks on the messaging app began circulating on Sunday night on the Internet, including one with a photograph of a pilot and the text: “This man is going to get extras in his entree.”
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
“Kuo crossed a red line when she said that she would put extras in the pilot’s meal, which would likely harm the pilot’s safety and thus endanger flight safety,” EVA deputy spokesman Eric Lin (林司忠) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
Her comment that she would give those who quit the strike and returned to work before the strike ended on Tuesday last week a terrible time were not tolerable, but were not the main reason that EVA decided to dismiss her, Lin said.
Kuo made that remark in a private conversation and explained at a meeting on Wednesday that she had been joking, but her message indicated that she had intended to harm the pilot, Lin said.
Kuo worked at EVA for more than seven years and had been promoted to deputy purser, so she should have known that EVA would not tolerate employees making jokes about flight safety, Lin said.
She could appeal the dismissal within 14 days with the department in which she had worked, EVA said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the union called the sacking an overinterpretation of remarks made privately, which could infringe upon employees’ freedom of speech and privacy.
The move also raises concerns about EVA trying to retaliate against union members for the strike, the union said in a statement.
The union had initially said that the screenshots could have been fabricated, but after EVA reported them to the police, the union issued a statement from Kuo on Tuesday saying that they were authentic and apologizing to the public.
“Kuo’s remarks were indeed inappropriate, but the person who really caused fear among the public over flight safety was whoever took the screenshots of the conversation and distributed them online,” union board member Genie Tuan (段嘉蕙) said.
Kuo had meant her remark as a joke, believing the online chat group was a safe place to speak her mind, Tuan said.
“She had no intention of bullying anyone or compromising flight safety,” Tuan added.
The chat group was set up for a number of flight attendants who joined EVA in 2011 and has 34 people in it, although many no longer work at the airline, and it is unclear who leaked the messages, Tuan said.
The union would discuss its next step with Kuo and lawyers, union deputy secretary Chou Sheng-kai (周聖凱) said.
If the issue cannot be resolved internally, the union would consider other channels, such as the local labor department, the Ministry of Labor or the judicial system, he said.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that his ministry respects the company’s handling of the issue.
The company should follow due process when dismissing employees, and employees should be given an opportunity to defend themselves, he said.
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’