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State railway must hire short woman, court rules

Cassation rules height limit discriminatory

15 November, 18:01
State railway must hire short woman, court rules (ANSA) - Rome, November 15 - Italy's highest appeals court, the Cassation, on Friday ruled that Italian State railway Trenitalia must hire a woman who in 2004 had passed a test to become a train conductor but was subsequently turned down ''only because she wasn't tall enough''.

Her height, just below the minimum 1.6 meters required, would not compromise her work, the high court said.

A first degree court had first ruled against the worker saying she did not meet physical requirements to become a train conductor or engine driver.

An appeals court in 2009 had then ruled in favour of the woman, saying Trenitalia had to hire her and pay all due salaries since 2004, saying the regulation regarding height was unreasonable and ''indirectly discriminatory as it set the same height limit for women and men'' though Italy's Constitutional Court has recognized ''statistically and objectively a physical difference according to gender''.

The Cassation backed this ruling though Trenitalia has said the woman's height ''could have a negative influence'' when getting off the train and pulling the emergency brake.

The Cassation confirmed the tasks were marginal and could be carried out by her.