HR Strange But True!
April 25, 2003

We all know that HR is never dull, but sometimes it can get downright strange...

New meaning to 'takeoff'

USA Today reports that a pilot and copilot for Southwest Airlines have been fired after being found out of uniform.

Way out of uniform.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the two men were dismissed for taking off all or most of their clothes in the cockpit of their Boeing 737 while it was in flight, in an incident that occurred "months ago."

The pilots, who are appealing their termination, contend that one of them had removed his uniform after coffee was spilled and that a flight attendant saw them after being summoned to the cockpit to bring paper towels and soda water, according to the newspaper's sources.

USA Today reports that Southwest is treating the episode as a prank that went too far - and saying little about it. "Southwest Airlines conducted a thorough investigation and terminated the two pilots involved for inappropriate conduct," spokeswoman Ginger Hardage told the newspaper, adding that the airline "will not tolerate any inappropriate or offensive behavior."

Likewise, the president of Southwest's pilots association, Capt. Ike Eichelkraut, would say only, "It's an internal matter."

For all its strangeness, there appears to have been no breech of safety rules. In fact, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said there's no specific prohibition against flying naked.

"I'm not aware there are any regulations on the type of clothing, so there's most likely none on (wearing) no clothing at all," spokesman Les Dorr says. But there are rules against behavior that distracts crewmembers during vital phases of flight, which is just about anything below 10,000 feet.

Source: USA Today

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