Viva Lays Off Cabin Crew, Attributes Performance and Compliance Rather Than Reduction In Staff Levels
News reports were circulating throughout Colombia Tuesday reporting that 20 cabin flight attendants were dismissed last week “without just cause,” which in Colombia is a technical specification meaning the layoff is discretionary and not as the result of a formal disciplinary process. It does not necessarily mean the separation was unjustified.
When contacted by Finance Colombia, the airline clarified the situation saying that the layoffs were the result of an internal review process, and in no way a reduction of the low-cost carrier’s workforce.
“Viva, like any company, constantly reviews the performance and compliance of its employees. In this sense, after an internal evaluation process, on the sixth of October the disengagement of 20 Cabin Crew members was carried out. The reason for this disengagement from the company was clearly due to the review of their work performance and adjustment to the culture and behavior expected at Viva,” the airline told Finance Colombia in a statement.
Viva also indicated that the dismissed workers will not result in a net reduction of cabin crew, because the dismissed flight attendants will be replaced by an equal number already matriculating through the airline’s training process.
In Colombia, barring other contractual arrangements such as collective bargaining agreements, employers may lay off or dismiss employees with or without cause. Employees dismissed with cause are not entitled to unemployment benefits, but employers must have carefully documented proof of disciplinary infractions should the worker appeal to the government. Employees dismissed without cause are due unemployment and separation benefits payable by the employer based among other factors, on time employed, and wages earned. This may happen for example, when an employee’s performance is not up to par, but the employee hasn’t actually committed a disciplinary infraction. It may also happen quite frequently, when there is disciplinary or performance noncompliance, but the employer is willing to pay the employee full severance by classifying the separation as “without just cause.”