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Gay El Al Steward Wins Benefits

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A gay airline steward has won his legal battle with El Al Airlines, gaining for his partner a benefit usually reserved for spouses.

The steward won the right to a free plane ticket each year for his companion.

A seven-judge panel of the national labor court ruled unanimously Sunday to dismiss an appeal by El Al against a previous decision by a district court.

The lower court recognized the steward’s request to have the airline recognize his partner as his “common law companion” and grant the benefits the company gives to other workers’ spouses.

According to company policy, El Al gives at least one free or discounted ticket each year to the spouses of tenured workers.

The judges ruled that the company had discriminated against the steward by not giving his partner these tickets, as it did for the spouses of heterosexual employees.

The court said El Al had violated Israel’s equal opportunity law, which forbids discrimination against a worker because of his sexual orientation.

That law, which prevents discriminatory practices in the workplace, went into effect in January 1992.

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