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3 employees of Cathay Pacific Airways were fired after non-English speakers made fun of them

In October 2019, Cathay Pacific Airways announced that it had sacked a flight attendant, an aircraft dispatcher, and an apprentice aircraft dispatcher for mocking two non-English speakers over a closed-circuit radio channel. The incident, which was widely shared on social media, was seen as an embarrassment to the airline and raised questions about its diverse workforce.

The incident was first reported in the South China Morning Post, which claimed it had obtained audio from the conversation. In that audio, one of the men said, in English, “Let’s see if he can speak English”, apparently referring to a non-English speaking passenger on the plane. The other responded, “He can’t understand, he’s not a f*****g Englishman”.

In response to the incident, Cathay Pacific Airways released a statement condemning the behaviour of the crew members and expressing its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The airline also said it would consider further disciplinary action or further steps to ensure employees respected its values and Code of Conduct.

The incident sparked debate in Hong Kong, with some arguing that the sacking was too harsh, while others commended the airline for taking a stand against racism and discrimination. Ultimately, however, the firing is an important reminder that businesses must take steps to ensure all employees are respected, regardless of cultural background or language proficiency.