We all have mental health just as we all have physical health. We all suffer with terrible things in life; it can be a testament to who you are and build on your character in many ways. Depression changed my life, but for the better. However mental health discrimination is something I never dreamed of facing. When I interviewed for the cabin crew role at Emirates, it shone through how strong I am. My previous roles have been varied, high pressured and tough but my references are outstanding. Every single person that knows me realises how capable and skilled I am with people and how amazing I would be for cabin crew. When I was offered my dream job with Emirates in April, I never expected the events that would unfold.
In March 2014 I was shortlisted from thousands of applicants and invited to an Emirates open day for the role of cabin crew. Following an incredibly tense assessment day I made it through to the final interview stage. Within three weeks I received a phone call congratulating me on being successful on becoming Emirates cabin crew member and that I would be moving to Dubai in June. I was briefly told that I would have to meet some pre-medical conditions but never imagined what was to unfold next.
After finally receiving the extensive pre-medical forms, I was very shocked to learn that Emirates does not accept employees with long term recurrent mental health issues, however isolated cases require a doctors report. Initially I was concerned as I have suffered with isolated bouts of depression in the past, related to traumatic life experiences. Following Emirates' pre-medical procedure, I supplied the required doctor's report regarding my depression upon informing them of this. Within this report, my doctor states that I am mentally and physically fit, I no longer require any medication and that these were isolated cases indeed linked to specific life events.
Throughout the whole process, I was required to receive a numerous amount of costly vaccinations, dental examinations and medical reports within a very tight deadline. Despite completing their required process very quickly, they were very slow at replying to my emails regarding this whole process. With time passing, myself and my family started to prepare for me to leave for Dubai as it was a matter of weeks away.
Five days ago I received an email from Emirates stating that I had not met their pre-medical conditions and that the job offer had been withdrawn. The email consisted of nothing more than a paragraph and left me absolutely shocked and heartbroken. I had my dream job taken away from me, lost a substantial amount of money and feel very discriminated against because I suffered with depression. Mental health discrimination is illegal in this country but Emirates seem to avoid this because they abide by UAE laws.
Depression has made me a stronger, healthier person, has provided me with skills to empathise with all types of people and to deal with high pressured situations.
I don't feel like the 'Worlds Best Airline' should be treating their employees and potential employees in this manner. If the employee is medically fit, capable of performing the job, and is free of use of medication, then why deny them of the role? They have already proven their suitability through the rigorous interview process, however a past use of anti-depressants automatically negates this. I think a serious 21st-century reconsideration is needed in Emirates' selection process.
I initially set up a Facebook page called Emirates Against Depression to warn other aspiring cabin crew against the unfair treatment by the airline. I have received an overwhelming response from people all over the world sharing their personal stories of Emirates, other airlines and even many other industries. With the support I am receiving, I want to continue to make more awareness of all discrimination against mental health sufferers. I want to help people who have been in my situation, either those applying for airline jobs or in any other industry. From the messages I am receiving clearly there remains a stigma attached to mental health sufferers within the workplace and this is not acceptable. I am not afraid of talking about my depression, it's made me who I am today; a strong, resilient, hard working person that Emirates has lost.