A SPANISH airline has been slapped with a £22,130 fine after it was found to have forced women applying for flight attendant positions to take a pregnancy test.
Iberia Airlines was given the sanction by the Ministry of Labour of the Balearic Islands, and has since said it will remove the condition from its application process for aspiring cabin crew, and allow individuals to choose whether they inform the airline if they are expecting.
According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the practice was unearthed last year during a campaign against labour discrimination.
Sources within the company told the newspaper that pregnancy tests were conducted across the country.
They claimed they were part of medical examinations for candidates who had passed the selection process, so that they could incorporate them into the airline’s health protocol.
Iberia said that the tests were put in place to protect the health of the applicant, so that the airline could avoid assigning expectant mothers a task that may put their pregnancy at risk.
In a statement to The Sun Online, Iberia said the protocols ensured they met international aviation regulations.
“Iberia has strict protocols for protecting pregnant employees, including trainees, and they are not assigned duties that could endanger their health of that of the foetus,” the statement read.
“In keeping with international aviation regulations, female cabin staff are relieved of flying duties as soon as their pregnancies are known.”
Iberia’s Workplace Health and Safety Officer, Dr. Maria Teresa Garcia Menéndez, said: “Given the controversy arising from the current protocol in place to protect pregnant women, we will no longer include a pregnancy test in the medical examination for new hires.
“However, we will continue to use all necessary means to ensure the safety and rights of pregnant employees, as we have always done.”
But the Ministry of Labour confirmed sanctions this week after rejecting the airline’s excuses.
In the UK, women are not required to tell an employer that they are pregnant until the end of the 15th week before the baby is due.
Spain’s flagship carrier airline still has the opportunity to appeal the decision with the Ministry if they so wish.
Late last month, Iberia found themselves in the middle of a landmark court ruling, when UK judge ordered the Spanish air operator refund a passenger the cost of his return journey after they automatically cancelled it, because he failed to check in on his first flight.
Carriers regularly cancel both legs of a trip if passengers miss the first one, but the new ruling by the Mayor’s and City of London Court could see an end to the practice, which often leaves passengers paying through the nose for another flight.
The ruling comes from a court case brought by barrister James Dove after Iberia cancelled the return leg of his flight from London to Madrid.