- Alaska is creating a new gender-neutral uniform kit for flight attendants and airport workers.
- The company is also updating its grooming guidelines to allow all employees to wear makeup, earrings and nail polish.
- The move comes less than a year after Alaska was criticized for its rigid “male” and “female” standards for dress and grooming.
Alaska Airlines announcement that it updated its uniform and preparation guidelines for employees, giving workers the freedom to speak out in an industry that has always maintained rigid policies.
Starting Monday, Alaska will observe new gender-neutral uniform policies for flight attendants, lounge workers and airport agents. In a letter to staff shared with Insider, the airline outlined the updated guidelines, which cover gender-neutral rules on footwear, makeup, jewelry and nail polish.
A new gender-neutral uniform kit is also in the works, which is an industry first. James Thomas, Alaska’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, told Insider the company created the initiative to give employees more individuality and show they care. ‘them.
“We really wanted to double down on our commitment to inclusion,” he said. “And not just say it in words, but also how do we show it in our actions.”
Alaska has updated its uniform guidelines since 2020 to give employees more flexibility, such as allowing flight attendants to order any pants, parka, or uniform kit, regardless of identity. kind. The airline’s current uniforms, created by Seattle fashion designer Luly Yang, were unveiled in 2018.
The company came under fire in June 2021 when the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter in Alaska alleging “the rigid set of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ standards of dress and care” violated Washington State lawwhich states that employers cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, appearance or expression.
The letter was sent after Justin Wetherell, a non-binary flight attendant and instructor from Alaska, asked the ACLU to help them change the uniform policy.
“When I work as a flight attendant, I’m forced to one of two standards, often for up to four days at a time,” Wetherell said. Forbes in 2021. “I am willing to follow all elements of the uniform policy for professional dress, as I do when working as an instructor, but I don’t want to be forced into a binary uniform that excludes me and leads it’s up to me to be mistreated at work.”
At the time, an Alaska spokesperson told Forbes that the company is “committed to making Alaska a place where everyone feels respected and belongs and proudly celebrates the diversity of our employees” and was working on inclusive and gender-neutral uniform options.
Alaska isn’t the only carrier to drop gender-specific uniform guidelines in recent years. In October, Ukrainian low-cost airline SkyUp said it would no longer require flight attendants to wear heels and pencil skirts to work. Instead, these employees can opt for sneakers and pants.
Meanwhile, in 2019, Virgin Atlantic has removed the requirement for women to wear makeup when you work. Changes made by airlines like SkyUp and Virgin are moving away from traditional uniform guidelines that focus too much on female appearances.