A Qantas poster girl has spoken out about the ‘rampant’ sexual harassment she allegedly endured while working for the airline.
Hannah Rowlands worked for Qantas as an employee of Maurice Alexander Management. During her employment she appeared in safety videos and in advertisements for the company.
She thought she was living her dream, until she was subjected to inappropriate touching and comments from a manager, she claims.
Hannah Rowlands is a former Qantas flight attendant, who appeared in safety videos and in advertisements for the company
She thought she was living her dream, until she was subjected to inappropriate touching and comments from her boss (not pictured), she claims
‘I feel like they failed me. As an employee, as a woman, as a human being, they’ve denied me of my basic human rights which is to go to work and be safe,’ she told The Project.
She was featured in an in-flight safety video and worked for Qantas for more than six years.
Ms Rowlands said she dreamed of being an flight attendant since she was a girl and felt overwhelmed with pride at being the face of Qantas.
She claims a manager was allegedly renowned for physically harassing women at work, and Ms Rowlands said on a flight from Perth he began to blow on her neck.
She slapped his hand away and told him to not touch her.
The week after, on another flight, Ms Rowlands and the manager bumped into each other again.
‘He goes “Oh I backed into you in the cabin, sorry”, and I’m like “It’s all right, whatever” and he goes “For a little girl you’ve got a tight arse” and he started slapping me on my backside.’
Frozen with shock, Ms Rowlands said she burst into tears after the manager walked away.
She said she was slapped numerous times by the manager, hard enough to sting her.
Ms Rowlands made a formal complaint to Qantas about the incident.
She asked to no longer be given shifts with the same manager. She was told her request would be granted for a ‘certain amount of time’, but she said she was given ‘seven or eight’ shifts with the manager despite her protests.
Ms Rowlands said she dreamed of being an flight attendant since she was a girl and felt overwhelmed with pride at being the face of Qantas
In response, Qantas said they ‘could not provide a guarantee around rostering… Hannah would never be compelled to work with the same person’.
Ms Rowlands called in sick on shifts she was rostered on to share with the manager – but because she was a casual employee, she went without pay when she used her sick leave.
She sent Qantas an email outlining her concerns, after which she felt she was made to feel like she was being ‘difficult’.
Ms Rowlands was offered telephone counselling and face-to-face mediation with her alleged harasser.
A year and a half later she quit the airline, saying she didn’t want to represent something she did not believe in.
Her manager was allegedly renowned for physically harassing women at work, and Ms Rowlands said on a flight from Perth he began to blow on her neck
In a statement, Qantas admitted that ‘there was some behaviour which was unacceptable’, but they had ‘offered various forms of support’.
‘We take harassment in the workplace very seriously. Once we became aware of the incident, it was thoroughly investigated. The employee immediately apologised and showed remorse.
‘It was clearly inappropriate and a number of steps were taken to directly address the conduct with the individual.
‘We assured [Ms Rowlands] that she would never be compelled to work with the person with whom she made the claims.’
Shine Lawyers said they have worked on 45 sexual harassment cases from airline workers.
Ms Rowlands said she has received messages from other flight attendants who were allegedly harassed by the same man.
She no longer works for the airline while the manager is still employed by Qantas.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Qantas for comment.