Flight Attendant Fired for Being Overweight

A Malaysia Airlines flight attendant fired almost three years ago for being one pound overweight has lost her unfair dismissal case.

According to British newspaper The Independent, Ina Meliesa Hassim, who worked for the airline for 25 years, weighed 9-stone 7-pounds when her contract was terminated in 2017. That’s 133 pounds, one pound over the 132-pound maximum demanded by the airline.

Hassim filed a complaint against the company under Section 20(3) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967, but the court ruled against her and in favor of Malaysia Airlines in a ruling issued on Feb. 14.

“The court is convinced that the company had provided the claimant with ample opportunities and chances to comply with the company’s policy and that despite the many opportunities, however, the claimant had consistently failed to achieve her optimal weight,” Court chairman Syed Noh Said Nazir said in the ruling.

Malaysia Airlines uses body mass index (BMI) as its arbiter of what is and isn’t considered healthy, and issued new guidelines in 2015 in which employees who did not have a healthy BMI were offered the opportunity to enroll in a weight management program.

Hassim was given 18 months to comply—Malaysia Airlines said she missed several weigh-ins—and the judge agreed with the carrier’s policy, saying it is the company’s right to implement policy regarding employees’ weight.

“The weight management programme was in no way discriminatory as it applies among all crew and the company had at all times ensured that the claimant and all its crew were accorded every opportunity possible to achieve their optimum weight,” the judge ruled.

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