A pilot who claimed he was unfairly dismissed for anxiety has lost his claim against his former employer, AirAsia X.
The Malaysian Industrial Court chairperson, Eswary Maree, was left unswayed by the former pilot’s argument and concluded that his dismissal was fair under the circumstances.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the pilot joined AirAsia X in October 2019 but was dismissed two and a half years later due to his anxiety.
The court heard that the airline provided the claimant with extensive support, medical leave, assessments and training for over a year, but his anxiety persisted.
Lawyers working on behalf of the pilot said that its client was subjected to “assessment after assessment.” The claimant had argued that his issues were “minor.”
However, the chairperson backed the airline by saying that the training sessions were needed to establish the pilot’s fitness to fly, and they had been recommended by a clinical psychologist.
“The company could not treat lightly the claimant’s fitness to resume flying, including his mental state, for fear of the safety of everyone on board,” Eswary Maree said.
Training sessions held between August and September 2019 revealed the claimant continued to show signs of anxiety and he was told that it could lead to his dismissal from the airline.
Eswary Maree said that AirAsia X had genuinely supported the pilot and were committed to helping him fly again.
According to court documents the claimant then refused to take part in a training session and subsequently his contract was terminated on October 23, 2019. He was paid three months’ salary.
In conclusion the chair felt the airline was within its rights to terminate the contract due to the claimant’s ongoing anxiety.
“Continued employment posed risks and the company could not reasonably be expected to accept such a situation,” Eswary Maree said. “As an airline, the company’s paramount duty was ensuring air safety […] Indeed, based on the contemporaneous evidence presented before this court, he was unfit to resume his flight duties.”