SCMP Friday, December 1, 2000

Cathay's retirement policy was discriminatory


Updated at 6.12pm:
Cathay Pacific's retirement policy of the 1970s and 1980s was ruled discriminatory on Friday.
District Judge John Saunders found the airline liable for engaging in unlawful conduct as female flight attendants were forced to retire 10 years earlier than their male counterparts.
Helen Tsang Hei-lun, 48, started her 20-year career with Cathay Pacific in March 1977 as a ground hostess. She became a flight attendant in 1979 but was forced to retire in 1992. She continued working for the airline until late 1997 on a yearly contract basis as a chief purser.
In a written judgment, Judge Saunders noted that Cathay Pacific adopted a non-discriminatory policy in June 1993 - more than three years before the Sex Discrimination Ordinance came into force. Ms Tsang was the only person affected by the discriminatory policy, the judge said.
Judge Saunders' ruling concerned only the issue of liability, and the question of damages is yet to be determined.