Flight attendants are at a major risk of sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the Association of Flight Attendants, 20 percent of flight attendants had been victims of sexual assault. Additionally, over two-thirds of those who had been sexually assaulted said the incidents occurred on a flight.
Flight attendants said they have been assaulted by passengers, as well as pilots. According to National Public Radio (NPR), over 90 percent of pilots are males and 80 percent of flight attendants are females. Unfortunately, flight attendants believe this gender imbalance creates situations where sexual harassment is more likely to occur.
According to a recent article, 12 female flight attendants came forward earlier this year to describe their accounts of sexual harassment. While many other flight attendants spoke up as part of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the women said the airlines did little to address the issues of sexual harassment. Additionally, they said they were afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation from the airlines for reporting incidents.
Federal law prohibits sexual harassment of a person in the workplace. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states the “harasser” can be a manager, peer or customer. Sexual harassment can include any of the following acts:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Requests for sex
- Sexually harassing comments
- Offensive remarks about a person’s sex
As many flight attendants know, sexual harassment can be devastating. However, sexual harassment is not limited to airlines. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, you are not alone. Laws are in place to protect you against your harasser and prevent any form of retaliation from your employer.