KLM justified to fire pilot after 20 years of sexual misconduct, threats, court rules
KLM was justified in firing a pilot after 20 years of sexually transgressive behavior, harassment, and threats, the court in Amsterdam ruled on Tuesday. The pilot regularly and seriously misbehaved towards crew members, ground staff, and passengers between 2002 and 2022, NOS reports.
According to the charges against the man, he confronted colleagues with unwanted touching, threats, stalking, and rape. He showed them unsolicited pornographic material and made unsolicited comments about sexual acts.
Many of the incidents happened at foreign destinations. In one, the pilot allegedly made a commotion with a sex worker in a hotel room while his colleagues had to listen from rooms next door. A flight attendant filed a complaint against the man, saying he forced her to have sex with him and prevented her from leaving the hotel room.
In Moscow, the police had to remove the man from a shop because he had taken bites out of several pastries in a drunken state. At Barcelona airport, he yelled at the ground staff and a KLM customer in a wheelchair, accusing them of delaying the flight. He also shouted and insulted technical staff at Tel Aviv airport. On Bonaire, he belittled the staff at a hotel because he found the rose at the restaurant undrinkable.
The pilot denied all the allegations, speaking of a smear campaign against him. For example, he said the flight attendant who accused him of rape made up the incident with the sex worker in a hotel room because her rape complaint led to nothing more than a week-long suspension for him.
As a result of the many complaints about the pilot’s behavior, KLM held several conversations, reprimands, and coaching sessions with him. But it did not have the desired result, so the Dutch airline dismissed him.
The pilot challenged the dismissal in court, demanding 1.5 million euros in severance payment. The judge did not reverse the dismissal but did award the man nearly 190,000 in severance.