“We have updated our Unified Guidelines, effective today, to provide greater freedom and flexibility in individual and gender expression,” the airline said in a statement Monday.
The airline said it would work with Seattle designer Lully Young to create gender-neutral uniform items for frontline staff, including flight attendants, customer service agents and uniformed lounge staff.
In 2021, an Alaska Airlines employee filed a complaint alleging that the airline’s uniform policy discriminates against employees whose gender expressions do not match the male and female dress code, especially non-binary employees – whose gender identity is “male” or outside of binary. Falls “female.”
The previous policy required flight attendants to wear either “male” or “female” uniforms. The airline also regulates other aspects of clothing, such as hairstyles, makeup and jewelry, based on the sexes assumed by workers.
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a letter at the time that Alaska’s uniform policy violated Washington’s law against discrimination, which prohibits discrimination based on “gender” or “gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression.”
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines flight attendant and flight attendant trainer Justin Wetherel said in an ACLU statement at the time, “I don’t want to be forced into a binary uniform that excludes me and leads me to the wrong sex at work.” .
The airline responded at the time that since 2020 flight attendants have been “free to order any pants or parka style and have been able to choose the uniform kit of their choice regardless of gender identity.”
The latest update of the uniform policy will allow more flexibility in personal expression for flight attendants of all genders, Alaska Airlines said. All flight attendants will be allowed to wear finger nail polish, makeup, two earrings on each ear and a nose piercing.
“We’ve updated our grooming policy to allow tattoos in more places, more hair styling options and adjust the names of our uniform kits to focus on fit versus gender identification,” the airline said.
The company has also created personal pronoun pins that employees can choose to wear with their uniforms.
“We all want to look professional and we all want to be ourselves at the same time,” said Monique “Moe,” a San Diego, California-based flight attendant, in a press release from Alaska Airlines. “Your gender should not determine what you wear or how you look.”