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Malaysia Airlines Steward Loses Unfair Dismissal Case After Being Sacked For Being Overweight

Malaysia Airlines Steward Loses Unfair Dismissal Case After Being Sacked For Being Overweight

An air steward who was sacked for being one-and-a-half pounds overweight has lost her case for unfair dismissal.

Ina Meliesa Hassim had worked for Malaysia Airlines for 25 years before she was fired in 2017 for not adhering to the company's rules over staff appearance.

According to reports, the airline's policy - which was introduced in 2015 - stipulates that employees' weight must fall within a certain range for the safety of its passengers.

When she was put on the scales in April 2017, Ms Hassim measured 160cm tall and weighed 61.7kg (9st 10lbs). Under the firm's cabin crew grooming manual, she should have been 61kg (9st 8.5lbs) to comply with the maximum BMI.

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It was reported that the airline gave her 18 months to lose the extra weight, but she failed to do so and was dismissed.

At a hearing on 12 February this year, Industrial Court chairman Syed Noh Said Nazir ruled in favour of her employers and that there was just cause for her being sacked.

The former air steward was reportedly given 18 months to lose the weight. Credit: PA
The former air steward was reportedly given 18 months to lose the weight. Credit: PA

He said: "The court is convinced that the company had provided the claimant with ample opportunities and chances to comply with the company's policy and that despite the many opportunities however, the claimant had consistently failed to achieve her optimal weight.

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"The weight management programme was in no way discriminatory as it applies among all crew and the company had at all times ensured that the claimant and all its crew were accorded every opportunity possible to achieve their optimum weight."

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The changes around the airline's grooming rules were explained in a circular letter sent out to employees on 20 October 2015.

It read: "As cabin crew, apart from maintaining the appearance as set by the company, you are also responsible to ensure the safety of our passengers while in flights. Being front liners in uniform, cabin crew cast an unforgettable image in the minds of our valued guests.

The court ruled in favour of Malaysia Airlines. Credit: PA
The court ruled in favour of Malaysia Airlines. Credit: PA
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"It is for this reason that the company considers the feedback received from our customers on the image of crew and inevitably even the appearance of cabin crew has been included as one of the attributes in the passenger flight experience survey and which is being tracked monthly.

"... With this policy in place, the airline will see healthier cabin crew who will project an image befitting that of the world's best cabin staff as well as for ensuring the passengers' safety when the necessity arises."

During the hearing, Malaysia Airlines stated that Ms Hassim had failed to attend her scheduled weigh-ins, despite several extensions.

The lawyers representing the dismissed flight attendant however, claimed the implementation of a rule regarding weight was 'frivolous', as other airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa and KLM do not impose a minimum BMI.

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It was noted, though, that she had never objected to the new rule when it was first announced.

LADbible has contacted Malaysia Airlines for comment.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]