Brazilian airline ordered to pay for women cabin crew’s cosmetic costs

Brazilian airline Gol must cover the cosmetic costs of their female flight attendants and airport staff following a labor court’s decision, with a union official saying the ruling could influence other professional sectors.

In the July 29 verdict, reported by local media this week, the court said the firm must “provide, free of charge, to all its female employees, the makeup set provided for in its personal presentation code, as well as pay for cosmetic procedures” including manicures and hair removal.

Gol’s women staff, unlike the men, were contractually obliged to devote part of their income to modifying their appearance, southern state Santa Catarina’s labor ministry court said.

In compensation, the airline will have to pay women 220 reais ($42) per month for the expense.

Although the Brazilian labor justice system has issued similar rulings against individual claims, this is believed to be the first class action.

“This decision may influence other professional sectors where women are forced to wear make-up, because if it is upheld by the courts… it will set a precedent”, said Clauver Castilho, director of the National Union of Flight Attendants.

He estimated the class action consisted of “some 4,000 women” — including flight attendants, crew members and airport workers.

Gol objected during the trial, stating the cosmetic treatments prescribed were only recommendations.

The court affirmed that the airline was guilty of “gender discrimination and a reduction in women’s pay” compared to that of men.

The action includes compensation for collective moral damages of 500,000 reais ($94,700).

Gol told AFP that it “does not comment on legal actions”.

An appeal filed by the airline after the ruling was considered “inadmissible”.