Trouser-ban lifted at BA

10 March 2016

British Airways has ended its long-running dispute over the right of certain members of its female cabin crew to wear trousers.

British Airways has ended its long-running dispute over the right of certain members of its female cabin crew to wear trousers.

According to reports, this is the culmination of two years of wrangling over whether members of BA’s ‘mixed fleet’ crew had to stick to the skirt-only rule imposed on them (subject to exemptions on religious or medical grounds).

Regional Officer at Unite, Matt Smith, is quoted as saying:

“Female cabin crew no longer have to shiver in the cold, wet and snow of wintery climates, but also can be afforded the protection of trousers at destinations where there is a risk of malaria or the Zika virus.”

Dress codes can be a thorny subject for employers; they can be imposed, but must be carefully thought out. If gender is an influencing factor then a sex discrimination claim is a real possibility. You’d need a very good business reason that justifies differences. And the key to getting dress codes right in the male/female context is to impose similar standards of dress and appearance on men and women: 'smart dress', for example.


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