Miss Universe Canada claims she was denied a flight attendant position by Emirates after revealing that she once struggled with an eating disorder.
Was Emirates Right To Rescind Flight Attendant Job Offer To Miss Universe Canada?
25-year-old Madison Kvaltin posted a three-minute video on TikTok describing her ordeal, which, in short, is:
- She was hired by Emirates as a flight attendant and even sent airline tickets for her move to Dubai
- A final step in the onboarding package was a health questionnaire that asked if she had ever struggled with an eating disorder
- She truthfully admitted that she had struggled with an eating disorder in her youth
- Days later, she received an email from Emirates rescinding her job offer because she “didn’t meet the precondition requirements”
- She now concludes she was denied on the basis of her prior eating disorder, since no new information was revealed other than that
Imagine being denied a job because you struggled with an eating disorder? Especially in a job that has NOTHING to do with it, or has any effect (especially since Im certifiably recovered and well from my past).
Let’s not kid ourselves: in terms of what Emirates seems to target in cabin crew hires, she has the face and figure for the job and she’s quite articulate. If we take her at her word that she already had a job offer and tickets to Dubai, I do not think it is speculative to reason that she was denied after her eating disorder disclosure for her eating disorder.
And while the United Arab Emirates does not offer the same legal protections as in Western democracies, this issue really goes beyond the legal issue to a moral and practical one.
Like alcoholism, there is no medication to beat anorexia. Even so, therapy and dietician-based regimens are fundamental to successful recovery. And many do recover! The difference though is that a large majority of those who suffer from this are adolescents, unlike alcoholism which afflicts mostly adults (and since the pandemic, anorexia rates among teens have doubled). This is often a youth problem that people grow out of.
In our social media world of air-brushed and AI models, eating disorders are a huge and growing problem as such unrealistic expectations are placed on both boys and girls concerning what the ideal physique looks like.
But anorexia is treatable and many, including several that I know, have gone on to live great and fruitful lives with no long-term issues. The vast majority do recover, particularly on a long-term basis. Assuming Miss Universe Canada had it as a teen or early in college, she is in good company.
Society needs to understand this illness better. Especially now. Many bright and experienced girls and boys are entering college or the workforce this autumn, many of whom struggled with eating disorders during the pandemic and most have recovered with proper care. If companies are going to start redlining them, those left are those that hide it, never got help, and are bombs ready to explode.
Sadly, it seems that it is beneficial to withhold information on job applications, though Kvaltin’s platform has been to raise awareness over mental issues and therefore hiding it was not tenable in her case.
Emirates Missed Out. But So Did Kvaltin.
One Mile A Time reasons she “probably dodged a bullet here by not getting a job at a Middle Eastern carrier,” but I disagree. Indeed, living in Dubai in a compound with other Emirates employees does not strike me as sexy either, but I do not necessarily think she is better off and certainly do not think Emirates is better off.
I think she would have shined as a brand ambassador for Emirates and would have had the time of her life flying around the world with such an eclectic mix of men and women from around the world. That was the original premise of being a flight attendant: a season of life, not a career. Part of me wishes I had done something like that (though more for the flight benefits…). Emirates also missed the opportunity to hire an intelligent and attractive person.
But even if she is better off, just moving on breeds blind compliance and acceptance of a bad policy…and ignorance. If we all just say, “Oh well, you know, Emirates and their crazy rules” we simply compound the problem. Emirates is a global airline serving many cultures and hiring personnel from around the world. I do not think overcoming hardship renders someone ineligible for a job. Quite the contrary, I think it shows the strength and determination that characterizes great employees.
Relapse By Rejection
Finally, a note on relapse.
One of the dangers of this disease is the stigma hung on these girls. The stigma is misplaced and rooted in ignorance. Too many lump anorexia or bulimia into the same category as schizophrenia or suicidal tendencies. Speaking to my fellow male compatriots, the majority of the stigma originates from men. Studies show that the stigma then becomes a hurdle for many girls (and some boys), often causing relapses because of the trauma of rejection, even when recovered. It is a vicious cycle…and also a needless one (sort of like the problem of pilots and alcoholism – thank goodness for the HIMS program).
Check out the NIH study for more.
Miss Universe Canada, Madison Kvaltin, claims she was denied a flight attendant position at Emirates for revealing a past eating disorder. While I am not questioning the legal right of Emirates to deny her employment, I find the actions of Emirates quite regrettable. The toxic ignorance of concluding a past eating disorder suggests a lack of mental fitness for a cabin crew position is insanity.
image: @madisonkvaltin / Instagram