Davida Forshaw, an International Airline Pilot at Qantas, is suing the airline for sexual harassment and discrimination.
Forshaw claims to have received poor performance reviews after rejecting the sexual advances of an airline captain, as well as alleging to have been instructed to get coffee for her male colleagues during an engineering briefing and being told to dye her hair blonde and wear a push-up bra to “do a lot better,” according to a statement filed to the Federal Court last week.
After a 23-year career with the airline including mentoring young female pilots, Forshaw has demanded the airline implement gender quotas to increase the number of female pilots it hires.
She said she received a lacklustre performance review after rebuking the sexual advances of her superior when staying at a Bangkok hotel, claiming that when she tried to report the incident to her fleet manager she was told, “No, he is a Qantas Captain, everyone will believe him and not you.”
The pilot also claims that on International Women’s Day in 2018 two male pilots told her they couldn’t wait for “this shit” to be over and complained that everything was about women.
Forshaw also claimed that while signing in for duty on a trip to Rome the captain appeared shocked that she was a woman and said “I thought your name was Davo, what f..king use will you be to me on this trip, I bet you don’t even drink beer.”
The veteran pilot also claimed a captain told a sexually-explicit joke and then said “You’re not going to be one of these ‘O’ women, are you?” The ‘O’ in this instance reportedly refers to “O-ffended.”
Forshaw works as the director of JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) at Piloting Mindset, an airline pilots consulting company. She is currently on medical leave at Qantas.
Her filing comes after Qantas commissioned Elizabeth Broderick, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, to undertake the Broderick review into the culture among pilots and cabin crew.
More than one-quarter of female pilots experienced sexual harassment over the past 12 months, according to the review. It also found that female pilots were three times more likely to experience sexual harassment from a colleague.
Forshaw reported five complaints in the space of three months to Qantas HR about three male senior pilots who she claimed discriminated against her because of her gender.
The veteran pilot was trying to become a captain during this time and she claimed that pilots stood in her way to prevent this promotion. She described situations of exclusion, condescension, hostility and rudeness in her claims.
A Qantas spokesperson told Travel Weekly that the airline had zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour and takes allegations “extremely seriously.”
“We took immediate action when Ms Forshaw made her complaint after being unsuccessful in a module required to be promoted to a Captain,” the spokesperson said.
“The employees she accused of discrimination or misconduct were stood down from work while we investigated. The claims of discrimination were not substantiated.
“Ms Forshaw has recently made additional allegations about other historical incidents. We were not previously aware of these incidents and have asked Ms Forshaw for further information so we can investigate.”
Forshaw is asking for a pecuniary penalty and a fine collected by the court as compensation for the alleged harassment and discrimination she underwent while at Qantas. She also wants Qantas to establish a quota system to increase the number of female pilots at the airline.
Featured Image: Davida Forshaw (Facebook/@Qantas)
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