Training instructor allegedly showed nude photo to new employee

by L&D24 Aug 2016
A couple of incidents involving airlines have highlighted the importance of educating employees about respect in the workplace.

A former JetBlue pilot is alleging that his training instructor showed him a nude image of himself and then failed the pilot when he rejected the instructor’s advances.

After taking the sexual harassment claims to HR, the pilot said he was told that despite the instructor admitting to showing him the picture, he was still to be terminated. The pilot is now suing the airline.

According to court papers filed by the Brooklyn Federal Court, the pilot was hired by JetBlue in 2015 and was sent to training in Orlando.

After beginning training the instructor asked if the pilot preferred men or women, leaving the pilot “extremely uncomfortable”, the suit said according to The New York Post.

Following that, it was claimed the instructor asked the pilot if he wanted to see a picture of his watch. The pilot agreed, and was shown a picture of the instructor naked and wearing only the watch.

The instructor then allegedly said: “Do you like my watch?”

The pilot also said that later in the day the instructor rubbed his neck and shoulders and said “You liked my watch, didn’t you?” claims the suit.

The pilot then told the instructor that his behaviour was “unwelcomed and inappropriate” and asked him to stop.

A few days later, the pilot was given a poor performance review and had to meet about the issue with a committee. He said that despite taking his sexual harassment allegations to HR he was told he would be fired.

Meanwhile, WestJet Airlines in Canada recently announced it would be implementing mandatory "Respect in the Workplace" training for all employees.

It comes following recommendations from an internal audit into WestJet’s sexual harassment policies and procedures.

The audit was put in place after the former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis lost her job after reporting being sexually assaulted by a WestJet pilot. Lewis sued WestJet, claiming the assault occurred six years ago during a layover.

She claimed the airline was protecting the pilot and fired her after she spoke publicly about it.

Lewis also filed a second lawsuit against the company this year claiming WestJet failed to create a safe work environment for female flight attendants.

The airline denied the allegations, claiming Lewis was fired for other reasons and the pilot was disciplined.

Lewis said that the independent review by Ernst & Young validates her opinion that the company is not protecting its employees.

It found that WestJet's workplace policy and practices hadn't been updated in almost 10 years, and that staff were not properly trained or educated about the policy.

Gregg Saretsky, WestJet CEO, said the company welcomes the report and will implement the recommendations.