An air stewardess, whose pay was reduced due to her larger dress size, has won her discrimination claim in the Russian courts.
Evgenia Magurina, who worked for Russian carrier Aeroflot, was told that she had “big cheeks and a big bust” on being measured by the airline last year and subsequently found her bonus pay had been docked. She was also removed from more lucrative, long-haul flights. On querying these issues with her bosses, Ms Magurina was told that she didn’t meet the dress size limit that had been set for Aeroflot’s cabin crew (which was equivalent to a UK 14 or US 12 dress size).
Ms Magurina says that she was not alone in suffering this treatment, with hundreds of other flight attendants being affected. They dubbed themselves the STS club after the Russian words for old, fat and ugly. The group joked that they had been relegated to night flights around the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, “so no-one will see us”.
Given the serious impact on her pay, Ms Magurina brought a claim against the airline. Aeroflot's lawyers argued that the cut in her bonus was acceptable because every extra kilo of weight cost the airline more in fuel. They also claimed their policy was based on narrow plane corridors and its crews' health, not purely their appearance.
However, the judge declared the airline's pay policy illegal. Ms Magurina said of the judgment:
"I hope this means women will be braver in fighting for their rights.
"They thought everyone would put up with it. But it offended us," she says. "Now justice has prevailed."