Harassment in the Airline Industry: The Friendly Skies Are Not So Friendly

Harassment in the Airline Industry

Misconduct runs rampant in the skies, and airlines continue to face tremendous exposure and liability in terms of harassment, bias, discrimination, and bullying. Harassment in the airline industry is one of many workplace misconduct issues flight professionals face.

Yesterday, Quartz published an article about an increasing number of allegations of sexual harassment that Qantas Airlines has been facing.

Qantas has set an ambitious goal. They want 50% of all new pilots hired to be female within the next decade. Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce, was quoted as saying he wants to “up the ante” with regards to female pilot intake. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the airline’s female pilots are experiencing high rates of harassment and bullying on the job.

Misconduct is Common

Airline workers experience disturbingly high levels of misconduct in the workplace. According to data from the Association of Flight Attendants, a third of all flight attendants experience harassment in a given year. Twenty percent have experienced a sexual assault of some kind. Also, when you factor in the abuse gate-agents and fellow airport-based staff members encounter, the true extent of the issues becomes even more clear. Finally. the problem extends well-beyond the airport and the plane. Frequently, flight crews find themselves overnighting in locations around the globe. As this terrible allegation against two JetBlue pilots illustrates, dangerous issues can arise during this downtime between flights as well.

In response, Congress has created a task force to address the issue – The National Inflight Sexual Harassment Task Force. Members of the Task Force and the airlines have publicly advocated for a new level of training to mitigate the risk for flight professionals while on the job.

Simulation Training is Part of the Solution

pelotonRPM’s simulations allow managers and leaders to prepare for tough workplace conduct & ethics issues, including sexual harassment and workplace bullying. Harassment in the airline industry, or any industry for that matter, is simply unacceptable. As the airlines increase their focus on this issue, they have to provide their teams with the skills they need to navigate these high-stakes situations. Their employees are tasked with ensuring the safety of millions of people each and every day. Above all, their safety is just as critical.