A leaked internal email sent to cabin crew at Australian airline Qantas suggests a quarter of its flight attendants have been sexually harassed by their own colleagues in the last 12-months.
According to media reports, Rachel Yangoyan, Chief Operating Officer of Australian Airports at Qantas is reported to have said in an internal email to staff, “To be clear, we have zero tolerance for any form of abuse or discrimination in any part of the Qantas Group.”
She further said, “If you experience or witness behavior that is unacceptable, I encourage you to speak up.”
However, Qantas said in an emailed statement that it was working to support crew who wish to make a sexual harassment report as part of immediate actions triggered by the report.
A new confidential and independent counselling hotline for cabin crew would also be set up, as well as new guidance for staffers on how to deal with and report sexual harassment.
Recently, the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) in Australia conducted a survey of 1,650 cabin crew and 750 pilots and found that one in five cabin crew had experienced harassment from a colleague and 15 percent had been sexually harassed by a customer in the past 12 months.
The survey also revealed that female pilots were also three times more likely to be sexually harassed than their male counterparts.
The survey of 419 cabin crew working for Australia’s main airlines – Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Tigerair – found that 65 percent said they had been harassed by either a fellow worker or a passenger.
The research found 70 percent of cabin crew who experienced harassment said they chose not to report the incident because they did not think it would be dealt with appropriately or they were concerned reporting it would make the situation worse.