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Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Say 'Too Sexy' Uniforms Are Fueling Sexual Harassment

05/06/2014 12:44 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2014
PHILIPPE LOPEZ via Getty Images

Flight attendants from a Chinese union have asked Cathay Pacific for less revealing uniforms, saying the current outfit is contributing to high levels of sexual harassment during flights.

"The blouse is too short and does not cover enough," the union's honorary secretary told a regional newspaper. "Whenever a flight attendant bends down, her waistline is exposed. We believe the company intentionally does this to make us look a bit sexier and to let the passenger see more."

She added that Cathay's short skirts and tight blouses are part of the reason flight attendants on the airline "experience problems" with harassment one in every 10 flights.

Cathay's female flight attendants have reportedly complained about the uniform since it was introduced in 2011. Union members are asking the airline for longer skirts and looser blouses to make them feel more "comfortable and confident" on the job.

Another recent study found that 27 percent of all Hong Kong-based flight attendants had been sexually harassed on flights in the past year. Eighty-six percent of those harassed were females.

In the study, "harassment" was defined as "patting, touching, kissing or pinching," along with "staring in a sexual way" and "sexual jokes and requests for sexual favors."

Flight attendants on Cathay can switch out their uniforms if they choose, the airline told an English-language newspaper in response to the union's requests.

"Crew are welcome to exchange their uniform any time if they feel the fit is not right," the airline said in its written statement.

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