Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 04:44pm
This is ugly, and I fear it’s a glimpse of our future:
With all the attention on the engine failure aboard one of its A380 jumbo planes earlier this month, you would think Qantas doesn’t need any more bad publicity. But the tale of Sheridan Genrich, a flight attendant who was demoted for her religious beliefs, suggests that the Australian airline has a tin ear when it comes to dealing with China.
Ms. Genrich is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a form of exercise and meditation that Beijing has banned as an “evil cult.” During a 2008 stopover in Beijing, the authorities detained her for possessing the group’s literature. The airline then disciplined her for breaking a rule against “conveying newspapers” and transferred her to short-haul flights, despite her seniority and strong service record.
Ms. Genrich appealed to the Australian labor authorities, which last week ordered her reinstated. Fair Work Australia Commissioner Frank Raffaelli criticized the airline’s handling of the case, saying, “The implication of Qantas’s action is that there is a restriction on the practice of her spiritual beliefs in private, which is contrary to both Australian and international law.”....Read More