German Airline Staff Say Sexual Harassment Is Rife in Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Sexual harassment is rife in Germany’s airline industry, according to a survey of cabin staff.

Around half of the flight attendants working in the country have experienced harassment at work, the study by the UFO cabin-crew union showed. About 46% of the respondents said the inappropriate behavior was committed by higher-ranking crew members, while a quarter blamed passengers.

Workplace conduct has come under increased scrutiny in light of the #MeToo movement of the past few years. Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct have toppled high-profile executives from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to casino billionaire Steve Wynn.

The online poll, in which 1,145 staff members took part, found that almost half of those who experienced harassment chose not to report the incidents, fearing it would damage their career prospects. Of those who did log instances of sexual harassment with the company, just under half said their complaints weren’t taken seriously.

The UFO union represents around 30,000 cabin crew working for Lufthansa, its subsidiaries including Eurowings, and other airlines such as Ryanair Holdings Plc and Thomas Cook Group Plc’s German airline Condor.

A spokeswoman for Condor said the airline takes a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment, adding it has an anonymous hotline which employees can call to report incidents. No one at Lufthansa or Ryanair was immediately available for comment.

UFO official Sylvia Gassner, who compiled the survey, called on airlines to do more to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

“It is sad when they say in the end: ‘It is your word against their word. We can’t do anything about it’,” she said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.