An American air stewardess who said she was relentlessly taunted by colleagues because of chronic flatulence has lost her discrimination claim.
The woman, Miss A, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed she was subjected to cruel jibes from staff at British Airways because she suffered from severe irritable bowel syndrome.
The London employment tribunal heard how on one occasion a flight attendant was heard to say to another: "Watch her when she does the emergency procedure. She always drops one when she's pointing to the exits." The same two were then seen to giggle when Miss A let rip whilst bending over to adjust a passenger's seat belt.
On another occasion an airline pilot was overheard saying, "The arse on it "
The woman claimed disability and racial discrimination against British Airways, as well as constructive dismissal.
Talking to our home affairs correspondent, Mrs A said,
"I have had I.B.S. now for over 10 years. When I worked for Pan American it was not such a issue. Many of the stewardesses would 'fart' as you English say, especially on take off, as many of us did not really enjoy flying . But this was accepted, people were cool about it. However when I started to work for British Airways it suddenly became a problem. You English seem to find this kind of thing funny."
At this point in the interview a distressed Miss A lent forward to get a handkerchief out of her handbag. It must be said that she flatulated with such force that our reporter, Michael O'Grady, had to hold onto his hair piece. However we realise this is not an excuse for discrimination or ridicule."
Miss A told the hearing that colleagues would make sniffing noises and "bowel jokes" when she was in earshot.
"If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the joke, 'How can you tell if a woman is wearing tights and not stockings? When she farts, her ankles swell up.' I'd be a very rich woman today."
But disciplinary proceedings were started against Miss A because of concerns over the quality of her work and increased sickness absences, the tribunal heard.
A spokesman for B.A. told our reporter,
"We accept that our employee had medical issues and we were willing to work with these. But increasingly she was spending more and more time away from her job. On one particular flight from London to Perth, Miss A spent the entire 18 hours on the toilet. And there can be no doubt that the howling noises caused our passengers considerable distress. Especially at this time of heightened security."
After considering the case for over a week the three-strong tribunal panel decided to dismiss all three of Miss A's claims.
Outside the court a spokesman for the Employment Tribunal said.
"It is unfortunate that Miss A did not disclose her medical history at the interview. We feel comfortable that British Airways did all they could to support their employee but her condition was of such an extreme nature that continued employment was no longer possible…Christ, here she goes again look…"
At this point Miss A flatulated with such ferocity that our cameraman had to grab hold of a passing policeman so as not to lose his balance.
It is believed that the matter will now be taken to the European Court of Justice.
However 'The Spoof' will not be following the case any further.