British Airways has been accused of discrimination by cabin crew who had travel concessions withdrawn following strike action two years ago.
An employment tribunal has heard claims that the company is guilty of indirect racial discrimination against five air stewards, who are demanding compensation of up to £8,000 each.
In total, 30 staff members who live outside England are seeking compensation from the airline as changes to travel concessions meant they could no longer travel to Heathrow airport at discounted rates.
According to the lawyer acting on behalf of the crew, in addition to claiming compensation, her clients wanted to be certain that there would be no further travel bans in the future.
Alison Humphry said: “Our argument is that the blanket withdrawal of the staff travel concessions was a disproportionately large stick with which to beat those particular workers who suffered particular detriment because of their reliance on the concessions to get to work.”
She added: “These employees had been allowed to establish their domestic lives within their country of nationality and the withdrawal of concessions meant that suddenly, for the foreseeable future, their journeys to work would be extremely expensive and inconvenient.”
While the ban was in place, some of the employees spent around an extra £2,000 to travel to and from work.
The five claimants who have taken BA to an employment tribunal live in Scotland, France, Spain and Italy.
A spokesman for BA said: “We are resisting the claims being made against the airline.”
BA chief executive Willie Walsh said during the strikes that the staff travel scheme would not be returned in full because it was for “those who show loyalty to the company, not those who try to damage its profits”.