Ex-flight attendant opens up on sacking

Samoan actor Seao Asa Loli, who went on to work as a flight attendant for Virgin Australia (New Zealand), has broken his silence after an employment tribunal found his sacking unlawful.

Known in the community from his acting days as Sio in the Samoan television series The Matai, the New Zealand Herald reported that local employment authorities found Loli was unjustifiably dismissed over allegations he performed a sex act on a passenger.

Virgin Australia New Zealand's handling of the 2018 allegations is now in the spotlight after a major finding against the airline. 

The New Zealand Herald reported that Loli has broken his silence over a case he says shamed him, after the Employment Relations Authority [E.R.A.] found the sex act allegations were unsubstantiated.

The Samoa Observer contacted Loli for a comment via his Facebook page, but there has been no response as of press time. 

He was awarded almost $20,000 by the E.R.A., however, Loli reportedly plans to appeal the decision as he is of the view that it didn't go far enough to right the injustice he faced.

E.R.A. member Nicola Craig said Virgin Australia (New Zealand) did not meet its obligations before suspending Loli and then terminating his employment, and subsequently ordered the airline to pay him NZ$9,702 lost wages, and an extra NZ$10,000 compensation.

Although the decision went some way to clearing his name, Loli said it was not significant enough for the two-year nightmare that he endured.

"Virgin Australia has destroyed my life and the Employment Relations Authority has in their decision condoned that,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

Loli was first accused by colleagues of performing a sex act in the galley of a plane.

“While I was pleased that the determination went some way to clearing my name, it has done nothing to deal with the pain that this whole event has caused me," Loli told the New Zealand Herald on Sunday.

"I keep asking – where is the justice in this outcome? Where is the justice in the very small remedy which I have been awarded?"

He said his life had been destroyed, his reputation ruined, rumour and innuendo meant he couldn't get another job in the airline industry, and he and his family were left heartbroken, but the determination took no account of that.

"Even now with the decision, it doesn't let me go back to the life I had before. Everything has changed,” he said. 

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