Australian flag carrier Qantas has confirmed that it sacked a flight attendant who stands accused of exposing himself to a female colleague onboard a domestic flight between Perth and Melbourne in April 2019. The man, who has not been named by police, was charged with committing an act of indecency late last year by the Australian Federal Police but the trial was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The female co-worker was said to have been caused significant distress by her fellow flight attendant’s alleged actions and even resorted to texting her friend during the flight in an attempt to alert someone about what had happened.
“As soon as this incident was reported we immediately conducted a workplace investigation and terminated his employment,” a Qantas spokesperson explained. “We have zero tolerance for any form of harassment. Everyone has the right to feel safe and respected when they come to work,” the statement continued.
The 54-year-old suspect appeared via audio link at Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday after the case was delayed for nearly 10 months. If found guilty, the suspect faces a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.
Police opened an investigation after the victim reported the matter several days after returning to Perth. It’s not known at this stage whether other co-workers or even passengers onboard the flight will be called as witnesses in the case.
“This case should serve as a warning to people that illegal behaviour in the air will be prosecuted on the ground,” Senior Constable Steve Proud of the Australian Federal Police commented.
While offensive behaviour in the workplace was always bad, SC Proud said it was particularly distressing on a flight when people are confined in a small space with no way of escape.
“There is no excuse for these actions on an aircraft or anywhere else – everyone is entitled to be free from harassment, unwanted attention or indecent acts.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.