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Aeroflot flight attendants win challenge over clothing sizes

  • NEW YORK TIMES

    A cutout of a Soviet-era flight attendant and other memorabilia at a museum at the Aeroflot Aviation School in Moscow in 2013. Two Aeroflot flight attendants secured an unexpected legal victory this week when the Moscow City Court ruled the airline could not link income levels to clothing sizes.

MOSCOW >> Two Aeroflot flight attendants secured an unexpected legal victory today when the Moscow City Court ruled the airline could not link income levels to clothing sizes.

The rulings, which overturned decisions by lower courts, upheld complaints by the attendants that they had been deprived of monthly bonuses — leverage widely used by Russian employers as a penalty — because managers wanted thinner cabin crews on international routes.

The two attendants, Evgeniya K. Magurina and Irina N. Ieursalimskaya, had lodged separate complaints against Aeroflot, Russia’s most prominent carrier, in a case that highlighted the issue of professional Russian women being judged by their looks.

“The court acknowledged that professionalism cannot hinge on clothing size,” Ierusalimskaya said after the verdict.

Magurina and Ierusalimskaya won small awards — 22,000 rubles and 16,000 rubles — for compensation and damages.

Ksenia A. Mihaylichenko, the lawyer for the women, said the ruling applied to all Aeroflot employees. At least 500 had been affected by guidelines limiting uniform size to 14 or smaller.

Aeroflot has six months to appeal, Mihaylichenko noted.

Andrey V. Sogrin, the head of public relations at Aeroflot, said the company was pleased with the decision because the court rejected claims of discrimination that the women had included in their complaints.

The company had said it put the regulation in place because heavier flight attendants added to fuel costs and could prove less nimble in emergencies.

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