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Appeals court says banning pilots with beards from flying illegitimate

All Headlines 18:16 February 08, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the regulation by Asiana Airlines Co., South Korea's No. 2 flag carrier, to ban its pilots from growing facial hair is illegitimate, a ruling in favor of its employee who was barred from flying for nearly a month due to his beard.

Overturning a lower court's decision, the Seoul High Court rejected the case filed by the flight operator in July 2015 to nullify a local labor commission's order to compensate the pilot for what he could have earned if he was not barred from flying. He was allowed to return to the cockpit in October 2014, only after he promised to no longer grow a beard.

The pilot brought the case to the labor commission in June 2015, saying the company's regulation that only allows foreign pilots to have beards and not for Korean nationals is unfair.

The Seoul Administrative Court had ruled in favor of Asiana Airlines in May 2016, saying flight operators can regulate workers' outfits and looks in a wider scope than other companies considering the need to respect customers' satisfaction and trust.

The appellate court, however, said the regulation which bans locals from growing a beard based on nationality violates the Constitution, and said it cannot acknowledge the necessity or find reasonable cause for the ban in the filed case.

Asiana Airlines said the exception was to respect other countries' cultures and customs, but the high court said it cannot understand why nationality was the only standard, regardless of one's religion or other cultural background.

The appeals court also said that there are no grounds to say that having facial hair reminds customers of untidiness or untrustworthiness.

Appeals court says banning pilots with beards from flying illegitimate - 1

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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