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Man without Hat

According to the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – docket number: 1 AZR 1083/12) a male pilot is not obliged to wear a cockpit hat in the public area of the airport during his flight mission as female colleagues do not have the same obligation.

The male plaintiff is employed as a pilot by the defendant. Due to a dress code all pilots regardless of gender are required to wear a uniform during the flight mission. In public areas the dress code differs between genders. Female pilots may decide freely whether they want to wear the hats, but the male pilots must wear the cockpit hats at any time in the airport. The plaintiff felt discriminated against due to his gender.

The pilot’s claim was successful. He is not obliged to wear the cockpit-hat. The differentiation by gender is legally incompatible with the principle of equal treatment according to the Works Constitution Act (betriebsverfassungsrechtlicher Gleichbehandlungsgrundsatz). The uniform identifies the cockpit crew as prominent representatives of the air carrier in the public area. Due to this regulatory purpose a differential treatment of men and women is not justified.