July 11, 2017 / 5:53 PM / in 5 months

Spanish airline Iberia to end pregnancy tests as part of recruitment

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Spanish airline Iberia is to stop requiring women to take a pregnancy test as part of its recruitment process, it said in a statement on its website.

A pregnancy test, which was a routine part of the medical examination that potential female recruits had to undergo, will be stopped, the airline said.

“We will no longer include a pregnancy test in the medical examination for new hires,” said Maria Teresa Garcia Menéndez, Iberia’s workplace health and safety officer in the statement.

“We will continue to use all necessary means to ensure the safety and rights of pregnant employees, as we have always done. This is an exemplary company when it comes to hiring women.”

The measures were put in place to ensure that women were not at risk of being assigned tasks that could endanger their pregnancy, such as luggage handling, the airline said.

It said it has never rejected a qualified candidate for employment on the grounds of pregnancy.

The decision to stop the tests follows a ruling by a regional labor body in the Balearic Islands that fined Spain’s national carrier 25,000 euros ($29,000) for the practice which it deemed discriminatory, according to reports by the Spanish newspaper El Pais in English.

“Enforcing pregnancy tests as part of recruitment has no place in 2017 and we are pleased that the practice is being reversed,” said Lee Webster, spokesman for international charity Womankind Worldwide.

Women make up 38 percent of the total staff at Iberia and childcare policies, along with reduced working hours, facilitate women’s access to work, the airline said.

Iberia, which is owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (ICAG.L) has undergone a major restructuring since its 2011 merger with British Airways.

Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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