KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CBS Local) — A veteran flight attendant who was reportedly fired from Malaysia Airlines for being just one pound over “overweight” has lost her case against the carrier in court.
Ina Meliesa Hassim had been working as a cabin crew member for Malaysia Airlines for 25 years until she was terminated in 2017 for allegedly failing to adhere to the carrier’s employee weight management policy. Hassim, who is 5-feet, 2-inches tall, allegedly weighed 133 pounds at the time of her dismissal. That’s one pound heavier than the the airlines’ “healthy” range for her height on the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart.
After her dismissal, Hassim filed a complaint against the company under Section 20(3) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967. But on Feb. 14, the Industrial Court of Malaysia ruled in favor of the airline, The Edge Markets reported.
“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,” court chairman Syed Noh Said Nazir said in the ruling, according to the New Straits Times.
Flight attendant fired for being one pound ‘overweight’ https://t.co/ZWK7pbl3Rn
— The Independent (@Independent) February 21, 2020
Malaysia Airlines issued new grooming and uniform guidelines in October 2015 for cabin crew employees in a bid to “maintain its image as a premium airline.
“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 carrier said in announcing the decision.
Employees who did not have a healthy BMI were offered the opportunity to enroll in a weight management program.
The airline claims Hassim was given 18 months to lose the weight and received assistance from an in-house doctor. The carrier also claimed that she did not attend several scheduled weigh-ins during the period.
But the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) called the airline’s policy “erroneously inhumane.”
“Justice and basic human rights have died once more,” NUFAM said in a statement. “Where is the justice which the country has been promoting via our Constitution?”