United Continental (ual) CEO Oscar Munoz has asked employees to commit to a “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment, heading the call of a union president who urged top executives to contest the culture of harassment in the aviation industry.
In a letter to staff Monday, Munoz wrote that he was adding his voice to that of Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson, and others “who adamantly believe that sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, intimidation or predation have absolutely no place anywhere in our society—including, and especially, in our industry and on our aircraft,” CNBC reports.
In a Dec. 8 op-ed published in the Washington Post, Nelson wrote that flight attendants are often objectified by the airline industry and have been “frequently harassed for decades.”
“Even today, we are called pet names, patted on the rear when a passenger wants our attention, cornered in the back galley and asked about our ‘hottest’ layover, and subjected to incidents not fit for print,” Nelson wrote.
Citing a 2016 survey, she said that the majority of flight attendants had no knowledge of their airline’s written guidance or training on how to respond to harassment.
Airlines, and airline CEOS, must take the issue seriously, Nelson said, adding that their support would not only protect flight attendants but help them protect passengers who face harassment on planes.
“Like the rest of our society, flight attendants have never had reason to believe that reports of the sexual harassment we experience on the job would be taken seriously, rather than dismissed or retaliated against,” Nelson wrote.