Spanish airline Iberia announced on Monday that it will stop asking new employees to submit a pregnancy test, after the airline was forced to pay a steep fine for discrimination.
In June, the regional government of Spain's Balearic Islands fined Iberia $29,000 (€25,000) for discrimination against pregnant women, according to The Local Spain. A health minister told reporters that she “rejected” Iberia’s practice and that “maternity can in no way be an obstacle for access to a job.”
People responded on social media, criticizing the airline for its policy.
In response to controversy after some accused the airline of discrimination, Iberia said that it has never rejected an applicant for being pregnant. “In the past year Iberia hired five of six pregnant applicants for jobs in the handling division,” the airline said in a press release. “The sixth was rejected after failing an airport driving test.”
Iberia said that the practice was originally put in place as a safety measure, to make sure that pregnant employees “did not face any risks.” The airline went on to explain its policies for “protecting pregnant employees,” including relieving cabin staff of flying duties.
In 2001, 500 female British Airways cabin crew won a £2.5 million lawsuit over discrimination claims against the airline. The airline policy at the time prohibited pregnant employees from flying. Those who lived within 50 miles of Gatwick or Heathrow airports would work on the ground while those who lived further away were forced to take unpaid time off.