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Iberia whistleblower says she was 'excluded from recruitment process' for refusing pregnancy test
THE WOMAN who reported Iberia for requiring pregnancy tests for all female job candidates says she was excluded from the recruitment process for refusing.
Bärbel Espín, 28, from Menorca, said the agency even asked her to declare when her last menstrual period was.
The airline's unacceptable discrimination came to light after Bärbel told the Work Inspectors, part of the Social Security, as well as the Balearic Institute for Women and the General Workers' Union (UGT).
She complained that the union 'was not concerned in the slightest' about her claims.
Iberia stressed at the time that it wanted to check for pregnancy so that female candidates 'could be guaranteed the best possible conditions in relation to their health', but Bärbel's revelation that her application for employment with the carrier was rejected on the grounds of her refusal to take the test shows that this was far from the case.
Even if the requirement was with the best intentions, the Work Inspectors said it could never be proven that a female employee who turned out to be pregnant did not get the job because she was expecting, rather than whatever reasons Iberia actually gave her.
And the obligatory test was found to be intrusive per se, since it was insensitive to women who could not have children, who intended to have an abortion or put the child up for adoption at birth, or who were acting as surrogate mothers, since it removed their right not to disclose this sensitive information.
It also showed mistrust of candidates who knew they could not be pregnant, such as infertile women or lesbians.
And whether or not a potential employee knows she is pregnant, she is not obliged to disclose this – or any other health condition – until after she is taken on, the Work Inspectors concluded.
Bärbel's whistleblowing led to Iberia's being fined €25,000 for a 'serious breach' of anti-discrimination laws.
She says she considers the fine to be 'exceptionally low' given the nature of the offence, but that she is 'satisfied that at least the case has come to light'.
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