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South Korean airline defends beard ban for staff

Foreign pilots are permitted to keep their facial hair but South Korean pilots at Asiana Airlines are required to shave, according to reports.

By
Elizabeth Shim
A South Korean pilot was suspended without pay last September for a month after he refused to shave his beard upon orders. Photo by hxdyl/Shutterstock
A South Korean pilot was suspended without pay last September for a month after he refused to shave his beard upon orders. Photo by hxdyl/Shutterstock

SEOUL, July 29 (UPI) -- South Korea's Asiana Airlines suspended a pilot for growing a beard, and has filed a lawsuit to reverse a court decision on the pilot's compensation.

The pilot was suspended without pay last September for a month, after he refused to shave his beard upon orders, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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The pilot, identified as "Captain A," said he refused to obey orders because of the company's discriminatory policy on beards.

Foreign pilots are permitted to keep their facial hair, but South Korean operators are required to shave.

The plaintiff applied for relief from the Seoul Regional Labor Relations Commission but his case was dismissed, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported.

Seoul's National Labor Relations Commission requested a court to reconsider the case, and claimed Asiana was abusing its human resources.

The government agency said the order of suspension was "excessive" and applies to pilots who violate safety rules by either drinking or operating an airplane despite fatigue or a health condition.

A South Korea court had ordered Asiana Airlines to compensate its employee $2,795 in lost income, but the company is refusing to comply with the ruling

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The plaintiff has been re-employed and is currently active, according to Asiana.

Asiana said South Korea's human rights commission had ruled the company's enforcement of its dress code was not a violation of personal rights.

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