SC strikes down PAL policy of retiring female cabin crew at 55


THE Supreme Court (SC) has voided a 2005 agreement between Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) and its cabin crew which set the retirement age of female flight attendants at 55 and males at 60, on the grounds that it discriminated against women.

The retirement ages had been agreed by PAL and the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines.

In a statement on Thursday, the court said it granted the appeal of female flight attendants to void the agreement because it denied them employment by reason of age.

PAL failed to prove that female flight attendants aged 55 to 59 were unable to perform critical duties, such as opening emergency doors and attending to passengers in cramped working conditions.

“This deprived them of benefits attached to employment, such as income and medical benefits, five years earlier than their male counterparts, without any factual basis,” the High Court said.

The court has yet to upload the ruling on its website.

Senior Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen said the policy failed to uphold the equality of men and women provided for under the Constitution, Labor Code, and conventions on eliminating forms of discrimination against women.

He said the agreement also violated the female flight attendants’ right to security of tenure and the accompanying employment benefits.

“Aside from being repugnant to the Constitution, laws, and international convention, the Court found that the compulsory retirement provision in Section 144(A) of the Agreement was not voluntarily agreed upon by petitioners,” the tribunal said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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