Qatar Airways faces allegations of racial & age discrimination against South Asian cabin crew
In May 2020, Qatar Airways faced allegations of racial discrimination against South Asian cabin crew, who were "forced" to work on flights during the Covid-19 pandemic and suffered verbal racial abuse from management. By contrast, European staff did not receive the same treatment and were included in a "PR stunt" despite not working these flights.
Qatar Airways is one of a number of airlines facing widespread lay-offs, as the company tries to mitigate against the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, travel bans and quarantines. An Arab News report also accused the company of ageism in its hiring-and-firing policies as began its redundancy process.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre contacted Qatar Airways to ask the airline to respond to the allegations in the below articles; they did not respond.
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Author: Qatar Airways
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Author: Arab News
“We had no choice. We were forced to work on these flights or be fired. Managers would threaten us using abusive language, saying things like, ‘Take this flight or go back to your third-world country’,” said a Qatar Airways flight attendant from a South Asian country...
“Some staff with good looks or who are favorites of the management, especially Europeans, were asked to stage an act for CNN that (suggested) we were very happy flying health-care workers... the (cabin) staff that were forced to work on those flights were given only threats"...
One criterion for deciding [redundancies]... is whether they have served the airline for more than 15 years.
This has reinforced the notion, rightly or wrongly, that ageism is ingrained in Qatar Airways’ hiring and firing policies.