Aviation

Ex-airline CEO cops fine for refusing to provide menstrual leave

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

A former airline chief has been fined for denying flight attendants menstrual leave.

The ex-CEO of South Korean airline Asiana Airlines, Kim Soo-Cheon, was first charged with the offence in 2017 for refusing to approve 138 requests for menstrual leave by 15 flight attendants between 2014 and 2015, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Employment law in South Korea has guaranteed women one day off each month if they are experiencing painful periods since 1953.

Last month, South Korea’s top court upheld its lower court ruling that found Soo-Cheon guilty, slapping him with a fine of two million won ($2,300).

Local media reported the ex-airline boss claimed that many of the requests were “suspicious” with some made near holidays or days when the women were not on duty.

He also argued that the women failed to provide proof that they had their period.

The 2017 ruling came to the conclusion that asking an employee to “prove” they had their period could “infringe upon privacy and human rights” and discourage employees from applying for the leave.

In upholding the ruling, the upper court said there was no justifiable reason the requests were turned down.

Menstrual leave has always been a contentious topic, with critics claiming it backs up negative stereotypes around female workers and could even prevent some employers from hiring women.

However, supporters argue it is as important as maternity leave and provides recognition of a basic biological process.

Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan also have laws aimed to provide women with menstrual leave.


Featured image source: iStock/Happycity21

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