British Airways threatened an employee with disciplinary action after he missed work because he failed to follow the correct absence reporting procedure including when he was busy saving the life of his daughter by performing CPR after she collapsed with an unnamed condition
The revelations were made public after an employment tribunal ruled in favour of Steve Jones, a mechanic who is employed by British Airways Maintenance – a subsidiary of the mainline airline based in Cardiff where BA has a large engineering base.
Jones was investigated for potential gross misconduct after texting his boss to say that he would miss work because he was driving to the hospital having just performed CPR on his daughter. He also failed to follow the correct absence reporting procedure on several other occasions.
A Royal Air Force veteran, Jones previously worked as a bomb disposal expert in the armed forces and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which was triggered on a number of occasions during his employment with British Airways.
On one occasion, an episode was triggered when a colleague wrote ‘PTSD’ on his job card. His bosses had previously written a letter to him saying that his PTSD made him present “two differing personalities”, which had a “profound negative impact on morale” according to the Telegraph (paywall).
The employment tribunal ruled that Mr Jones was a victim of harassment and disability discrimination and that British Airways had failed to show empathy towards his personal circumstances.
Jones started working at the Cardiff maintenance base in 2018 and failed to turn up for a shift in August 2019 after his daughter collapsed and was taken to hospital. The tribunal heard how the same unnamed condition had taken the life of his wife.
In its ruling, the tribunal concluded that British Airways Maintenance “did not get a proper handle on the situation and it was handled badly. In our judgment, the respondent was requiring Mr Jones to achieve the unachievable – to stop having PTSD symptoms.”
Jones is in line for compensation but the exact amount is to be determined at a later date. He has not returned to work after being told he was being investigated for missing a shift.
He lost several other claims made against the airline.
On Tuesday, British Airways boss Sean Doyle said the airline was committed to “creating a great place for people to work” through its new sustainability ‘BA Better World’ campaign. The initiative was unveiled at a press event during which Doyle showed off an Airbus A320neo painted in a special livery to mark the ariline’s commitment to cutting emissions and waste.
During the event, Doyle said the carrier was in the advanced stages of talks to create a new low-cost short-haul subsidiary based out of Gatwick airport. The subsidiary would offer the same level of service as other British Airways flights but significant savings will be made by paying pilots less than their peers at easyJet.
British Airways responded to the tribunal ruling by saying in an emailed statement: “We are disappointed with the decision and believe that we have acted fairly and properly throughout.”
“We are currently considering whether we appeal the decision.”
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.