Reuters reports the state body found the policies may be discriminative to those who are non-binary or identify as “gender fluid.”
Liberal Uniform Policies Found to Discriminate Against Some Employees
The decision was made after a complaint to the commission by Alaska employee Justin Wetherell, who identifies as a non-binary person. According to his complaint, the airline forced them to choose between either a “male” or “female” identity uniform, with strict appearance requirements. For example: employees with any facial hair must wear the “male” identity uniform, while bright lipstick colors are only allowed with the “female” uniform.
In the six-page decision, the commission says there is “sufficient evidence” to suggest that the policies were discriminatory to Wetherell on the basis of gender identity and expression. State law prevents employers from “requiring an individual to dress or groom in a manner that is not consistent with that individual’s gender expression or gender identity.
“Complainant was treated less favorably than flight attendants not of their same protected class because make and female employees had uniform kits specifically designed for them and their gender identities,” the ruling reads. “Whereas Complainant has been forced to try fitting into a binary uniform system despite identifying as neither male nor female and making multiple requests for exceptions to the uniform policy that would have allowed them to dress and groom according to their gender identity.”
Earlier in 2022, Alaska Airlines introduced a wide-ranging update to uniform policies, including offering workers pronoun identity pins and rolling out gender neutral options. Although the “finding of reasonable cause” was entered by the commission, it falls short of a lawsuit forcing the carrier to change their overall policies.
Alaska Receives Pushback on Policies from Both Sides
The complaint to the Washington State Human Rights Commission is not the first time the Seattle-based carrier received pushback over their culture. In 2021, a group of flight attendants accused the carrier of cutting their jobs over questioning the airline’s support for LGBT+ causes.
Source: frugal travel guy