Almost two-thirds of flight attendants down under have been sexually harassed by passengers.
They have been pinned down, flashed by passengers and subjected to degrading comments, according to a survey of cabin crew published by AAP.
The news agency said that the survey “of more than 400 workers, released by the Australian Transport Workers Union on Monday, suggested half of those who had been abused had been harassed on more than four occasions.”
The AAP also said that “four out of five staff were harassed by co-workers.”
“This really does lift the lid on a culture which cannot be allowed to persist in our Australian community,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.
The AAP report said that “one respondent said a passenger exposed himself and asked for oral sex, while another said a captain made “disgusting remarks about my genitalia” in front of others.”
“There is definitely a culture where crew and pilots think inappropriate comments and touching are OK,” one response said.
Disturbingly the report noted that “almost 70 percent of those who have been sexually harassed never reported an incident and, of those who did, 84 percent weren’t satisfied with how it was handled.”
The respondents were from the Australian airlines – Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, and Tigerair.
AAP reported that a Qantas spokesman said the airline did not tolerate harassment and had clear processes for reporting and investigating claims.
“These processes have helped reveal behavior that is simply not acceptable and we’ve taken action that has included terminating people’s employment,” the spokesman said.
Virgin Australia also said it had a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate behavior.