Emirates Airline has withdrawn a job offer to a young British woman after finding out that she had suffered from depression in the past.
Megan Cox believed she had secured her dream job as a flight attendant after receiving a phone call from the Dubai-based airline last month congratulating her on her new role.
However, the 22-year-old from Bridgwater, in Somerset, was told in an email this week that Emirates had decided against employing her in the light of her medical report.
She was diagnosed with a case of depression in 2012 but a note from her doctor sent to the airline explained that since recovering she had “remained fit and well indeed has had no further consultations with us”.
Emirates has a large number of British employees but is not subject to the same regulations. Ms Cox told The Independent she hoped that her case would help highlight the issue.
“I am incredibly heartbroken and feel discriminated against by Emirates,” she said. “I put all my life on hold and spent weeks waiting for my confirmation.”
An email from Emirates to her this week said: “Please be advised that your offer of employment has been withdrawn as you have not met the pre-conditions set out in the offer of employment.”
Campaigners last night expressed concern that people with mental health problems should not face the prospect of losing their job because they have suffered from depression.
“One in four people experience mental health problems in any year but this doesn’t mean they can’t work and do just as good a job as anyone else,” said Kate Nightingale, a spokeswoman at the mental health campaigner Time to Change. Ms Cox set up a Facebook page, Emirates against Depression, to raise awareness of her treatment. It has received comments from women around the world who are worried they will not be able to work as cabin crew because they have a mental illness.
A spokesman for the airline said: “Emirates has a clear and fair recruitment process and is an equal opportunity employer... We are unable to comment on individual recruitment cases.”
Update Saturday 24 May: An Emirates spokesperson said: "Emirates has a clear and fair recruitment process and is an equal opportunity employer. The Cabin Crew environment is both physically and mentally demanding with crew regularly experiencing body clock changes and irregular sleeping patterns, which can take a toll on the body. Given our crew are responsible for the safety of hundreds of passengers it is important that all candidates meet the pre-employment conditions. Last year Emirates received over 17,000 Cabin Crew applications in the UK alone. All applications are reviewed closely by our trained Cabin Crew recruitment team to ensure suitability for this extremely demanding role. Emirates currently has over 18,000 Cabin Crew working for the airline and takes the health and welfare of its employees extremely seriously.
"Emirates is sorry for Ms Cox's disappointment in not receiving the role, a refund of her pre-employment related medical expenses will be made. We wish Ms Cox all the best for her future endeavours."