‘Frat Boy Culture’ in Canadian Cockpits

Canada’s airline industry is characterized as a hotbed of sexual harassment, infidelity and gender discrimination in an uncomfortable workplace where male pilots play a lead role in creating the toxic environment according to a Global News story. Global interviewed flight attendants and a variety of experts who say the industry is way behind the #MeToo movement. “It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors,” said Mandalena Lewis, a former WestJet flight attendant who is behind a class action suit against her former employer that alleges the airline is failing to provide a harassment-free workplace for women. On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear arguments by the airline to end the suit.

The flight attendants interviewed by Global related stories of inappropriate and often persistent advances from male pilots that sometimes resulted in assault. Lewis has used terms like “frat boy culture” and “cowboy culture” to describe the testosterone-fuelled misadventures that flow from four day pairings and layovers in faraway places. The story says recent stats from the Canadian Human Rights Commission show sexual harassment complaints have increased steadily in the past 15 years and from 2014 to 2018 there were 118 allegations registered.