BA loses appeal against female pilot’s tribunal win

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has rejected BA’s appeal in the case of Jessica Starmer, the mother whose request to work part-time was refused by the airline.

Jessica Starmer, 26, said she was denied a request to work 50% part-time so she could look after her one-year-old daughter.

BA denied the complaint, arguing it was about health and safety and not gender. It said Starmer had not completed the required amount of flying hours. It said its pilots should have at least 2,000 flying hours experience – “around three years of full-time flying” – before they could work at 50% levels.

Starmer had claimed she had the right to work part-time under flexible working regulations introduced by the government last year.

Jenny Watson, acting chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said: “The [Employment Appeal] Tribunal decision is great news for millions of women in the UK juggling their careers with their responsibilities at home, too many of whom are denied using their talents to the full.

“The UK is facing a crisis if it does not address the need for flexible hours at work,” she said. “Without addressing women’s responsibilities at home as well as at work, we’ll continue to lose out on female talent – and ignoring the potential contribution that women can make will cost the country dear in terms of productivity.”

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