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Russian Aeroflot flight attendants win uniform discrimination case

A Russian court has ruled that national carrier Aeroflot cannot tell staff what size uniform to wear. A stewardess had brought the discrimination case after being taken off long-haul flights.

A court in Russia on Wednesday sided with two female flight attendants who had sued Aeroflot for alleged gender discrimination. The stewardesses claimed they were taken off more lucrative international flights because of their body size.

Moscow City Court said the airline could not enforce a rule prohibiting female crew members from wearing uniforms up to size 48 (UK 16 / EUR 42 / US 14).

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Important takeaways

- The women were awarded token compensation for lost wages and moral damages

- The court did not rule explicitly that the Aeroflot policy was discriminatory

- Aeroflot argued overweight attendants could pose a safety risk by blocking emergency exits and require more costly fuel to transport

- The lawsuit put a spotlight on how women in modern Russia still often are judged by their looks.

Read more: 27 hurt on May Day Aeroflot flight to Bangkok

Watch video 02:19

Aeroflot takes off

What they said

- Aeroflot: "The company does not infringe on the rights of workers due to age, gender, race or any other characteristic."

- Plaintiff Irina Ierusalimskaya: "I'm sure that the size of clothing cannot be applied to professional qualities. That goes against common sense. Because, first of all, one should be professional in what you do, and looks are secondary."

- Lawyer for the attendants: "We were not suing for money. We wanted the court to acknowledge that you cannot treat people like that."

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