The German airline, Lufthansa has said it is going to be “expanding” the number of systems available to staff, including cabin crew to deal with sexual harassment. At the heart of the extra support being put in place are two “independent persons of trust” who staff can call upon rather than going directly to their manager or other internal contacts.
The airline was keen to stress that this new measure is in addition to other systems that have been in place for many years. Lufthansa also plans to improve and update sexual harassment training for its staff – there were no details on what content would change or how long it would take to roll out the new training.
“We must support our employees, even more, when it comes to seeking help in cases of sexual harassment, no matter where and in which context the harassment occurs,” explained Dr Bettina Volkens, who head’s Lufthansa’s Human Resources department.
“The more employees make their voices heard, the lower the barrier becomes for others in similar situations to speak up. It is for this reason that we have recruited external persons of trust who will serve as contacts for those affected,” Dr Volkens continued.
Lufthansa’s two independent persons of trust will be Christine Lüders and Martin Lüdermann. Lüders started her career in flying as a flight attendant in 1976 and worked in a number of different roles at Lufthansa. She was the head of Germany’s Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency from 2010 until 2018.
Lüdermann has been a psychologist and supervisor for the past 25 years and runs his own consulting business. He has also previously worked for Lufthansa.
A couple of weeks ago, a new U.S. bill was introduced that would require transportation companies, including airlines to create clear policies and procedures to combat sexual harassment and assault.
The law would also force airlines to provide training to flight attendants on how to deal with allegations of sexual assault and require companies to publish figures on how many sexual assaults had taken place on their planes.