Wednesday, 13 October 2010

MaltaToday: Gay applicant turned down by Air Malta over 'nonchalant attitude', improper dress

Tuesday, October 12, 2010; By Rachel Zammit Cutajar

Ombudsman turns down complaint by gay employee who claimed discrimination in Air Malta pilots' training selection.

This was one of the selected cases from the Annual Report of 2009 issued by the Office of the Ombudsman.

An Air Malta employee lodged a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman that he was subjected to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when he was not selected for ab initio pilot training.

The complainant was aggrieved by this decision because besides the qualifications he possessed in engineering, he had also been employed with the airline in the engineering department for several years and he was also in possession of a private pilot's licence.

His application to the training course was declined in January 2007 in favour of other candidates even though he claimed he was the best qualified for the job. When he sought an explanation he found that he was turned down by the selection board for two reasons. The first was that he was "improperly dressed" and that he was "over-confident and nonchalant" during his interview.

During his investigations, the Ombudsman found that the panel of management pilots unanimously rejected the complainant's application because of his "nonchalant" and "over-relaxed attitude" in comparison to the business-like attitude of the other candidates. "They expressed surprise at the allegation of discrimination, especially since they were unaware of the candidate's sexual orientation at the time of the interview," the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman turned down the complaint, claiming there was no clear evidence to sustain the complainant was subjected to discrimination due to his sexual orientation. "There was no reason to doubt the declaration of the selection board that they were unaware of the complainant's sexual orientation at the time of the interview."

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