British Airways pilot’s discrimination appeal begins

An appeal by British Airways against an employment tribunal ruling in favour of a female pilot’s sex discrimination claim over working hours will start today.

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 a health and safety case. It said Starmer had not completed the required amount of flying hours.

The airline insists the case is about safety, not gender. 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.

BA’s appeal will be heard in London.

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