Tribunal judgments stick, like high heels in an escape slide

Hey Ladies

By Kelly Flageul, Managing Director

To say that Condor has been plying choppy waters for the past year is a serious understatement. To list their woes since the Liberation joined the fleet last March would not only take too long but it would also be repeating news that you’re probably fully aware of.

The latest storm that the company has had to weather is over the signs on its toilet doors. To be fair to Condor, it has been the victim of some poor reporting in the media that completely missed the point underlying transgender passenger Erin Bisson’s complaint, which was heard recently by the Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal.

The issue at hand wasn’t the signs on the doors; it was simply that Ms Bisson should not have been told to use the disabled toilets. The root of the problem was the lack of understanding – and presumably training – on the part of the Condor employee. Hopefully, the company is putting this right.

However, the lasting problem for Condor is not its lack of training or diversity policies, which can be updated, but its reputation. Recently I was travelling back from France so was one of the hundreds on board who saw the firm’s distinctive safety video. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

I actually think the safety video is really effective because everyone around me was watching and listening to the rapped rhymes of the captain and his crew. What was really noticeable, however, was the reaction of passengers when the dancing officer said: “Now Ladies, Hey Ladies, you have to realise, sharp objects can’t go on our slides, so leave those heels behind”.

There was widespread merriment as passengers pondered whether the video would have to be updated in light of the tribunal toilet judgment. Of course, it doesn’t and – as I said – the public’s reaction has undoubtedly been influenced by ill-considered reporting.

But it does go to show that ending up in a tribunal is a serious business and should be avoided whenever possible. It really should be the last resort and with proper training and procedures in place, a business need never face the tribunal panel – nor any damaging public ridicule.

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