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Pan Am settles sex bias case.

Pan Am settles sex bias case

Pan American World Airways has agreed to modify its limits on employee weight, and pay $2.35 million to 116 current and former female attendants the carrier had declared overweight. The court-approved settlement ended a 5-year court case in which the attendants contended they were disciplined and, in some cases, fired in violation of the sex discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Previously, Pan Am classified all female attendants as having "medium" frames in determining if they fell within the limits of a height-weight chart, while classifying all male attendants as having "large" frames. According to the Independent Union of Flight Attendants, which represents Pan Am's 5,400 attendants, this classification amounted to discrimination against women because it gave the men more leeway in meeting the requirements. The union also objected to periodic visual inspections of appearance, contending that the inspection of male attendants was less rigorous.

Under the new policy, both male and female employees will be classified as having medium frames, except for those employees subject to less stringent weight limits because a physician determines they have large bones. The settlement also ended the visual inspection of employees.
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Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Dec 1, 1989
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