Turkish Airlines has reportedly told 28 flight-attendants to lose weight or lose their jobs. According to Reuters, the cabin crew members have been asked to take six-months unpaid leave to get in shape. If they cannot manage to slim down to a specified size, the employees will be taken off cabin crew duty and allocated a different job.
A statement issued by Turkish Airlines, published in daily newspaper Haber Turk, said that the airline took height and weight seriously. It added that both criteria must be taken into account when deciding whether an employee looks good and is able to move around easily in order to do their job properly.
One of the crew members, Izzet Levi, said he had been told to slim down to 211 pounds, meaning a weight loss of 22 pounds, if he wanted to remain in his job. Of the 28 flight attendants suspended because of their size, 13 are women.
Turkish Airlines claims that each of the employees has been warned previously that they need to be in better shape. During the 1970s, a number of US airlines, who asked cabin crew to slim down, found themselves facing legal action. Weight requirements were dropped by most carriers after a lawsuit was filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Most airlines now ask their cabin crews to undergo a performance test in order to establish whether they are able to move freely down the aisles and thus do their jobs properly and without hindrance.