· News

Ryanair chief pilot sacked over sexual harassment allegations

Ryanair former chief pilot Aidan Murray has reportedly been dismissed for repeated sexual misconduct following an investigation by the airline.

According to The Independent, staff at Ryanair’s Dublin unit were told Murray was dismissed for “a pattern of repeated inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour towards a number of female junior pilots”. 

Murray allegedly harassed eight junior colleagues, including messages to some with comments on their appearance. 

He is also accused of altering flight rosters to fly with certain female pilots. 

More on sexual misconduct:

CBI sexual misconduct scandal comes as no surprise to HR

Allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace

Parliament misconduct calls for professional HR system

Matt Jenkin, head of employment law at law firm Moorcrofts, said employers need rigorous anti-harassment policies to protect staff. 

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Employers looking to prevent harassment in the workplace should consider putting in place and keeping updated, an anti-bullying and harassment policy and providing training on that policy at all levels of the workforce. 

“They need to take complaints of harassment seriously and investigate them in detail and without unnecessary delay. 

“When employees are found to have committed acts of harassment take appropriate disciplinary action regardless of the perpetrators role or seniority.” 

If employers do not take decisive action when allegations are made, Jenkin said they risk staff’s safety and trust, as well as legal liability.  

He added: “If an employer doesn’t properly address the issue, it will be difficult for it to show that it had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the harassment leaving it liable for the sexual harassment committed by their employees during the course of their employment.   

“Simply having policies in place isn’t enough.” 

A report released by the Royal Aeronautical Society last year found 42% of female pilots said they have been treated differently at work because of their gender. 

Alison Sneddon, Senior Counsel at GQ|Littler, said employees and managers should be trained and encouraged to report misconduct. 

“Policies should also explain how to raise any concerns about misconduct in the workplace, as well as support for those raising issues. This support can come from HR teams, outside counselling, or an employee’s assistance programme.” 

“As the first port of call when issues arise, it’s essential that management teams receive regular training – especially on how to handle reports with sensitivity.  

"Power dynamics between junior and senior employees can often keep individuals from coming forward to report harassment, so organisations should encourage employees at all levels to speak out against poor behaviour.” 

When contacted for comment, Ryanair said: "We do not comment on queries relating to individual employees."