The flight attendant unjustifiably dismissed over allegations he performed a sex act on a passenger, says the airline's handling of the claims have devastated and ruined his life.

Seao Loli has broken his silence over the case he says shamed him, after the Employment Relations Authority [ERA] found the sex act allegations were unsubstantiated.

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However despite being awarded almost $20,000 by the authority he plans to appeal the decision because he said it didn't go far enough to right the injustice.

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While the authority found Virgin Australia New Zealand's actions were unjustified it said questions still remained about what occurred during the February 2018 flight.

Authority member Nicola Craig said VANZ did not meet its obligations before suspending Loli and then terminating his employment, and ordered the airline pay him $9702 lost wages, and an extra $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 he had endured.

"Virgin Australia has destroyed my life and the Employment Relations Authority has in their decision, condoned that."

Virgin Australia said it was reviewing the decision but had no comment at this time.

Loli was first accused by colleagues of performing a sex act on a passenger in the galley of a plane in June 2018, four months after the incident was supposed to have happened.

Flight attendants had reported hearing "strange or slurping sounds" coming from the aircraft's rear galley during the flight, and claimed to have caught Loli "in the act".

Craig said Loli being behind curtains with a passenger for an extended period could raise questions but questions were not enough.

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She found there was not "sufficient information" to support the sex act allegation but said Loli did supply complementary beers to the passenger who was not entitled to them.

A Virgin Australia New Zealand flight attendant says his life was ruined by unsubstantiated allegations that he performed a sex act on a passenger during a flight. Photo / Supplied
A Virgin Australia New Zealand flight attendant says his life was ruined by unsubstantiated allegations that he performed a sex act on a passenger during a flight. Photo / Supplied

"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 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."

Loli said he felt abandoned by the ERA and referred to the allegations as horrific and baseless, and the actions of Virgin Australia as "unscrupulous".

"... through their lack of discretion... everyone I've ever worked with or been a colleague of, knows about this thing that I was accused of but didn't do. I should never have been suspended."

Loli defended his time in the galley with the passenger.

"My role is customer service and anyone who has ever flown on an international flight appreciates the value of being able to stretch their legs in the galley.

"I'm known for my film work in Samoa and it's not unusual for people to want to talk to me about it.

"Talking to guests in the galley is part of the job. It should not be the basis upon which I am considered 50 per cent accountable for the outcome."

Seats on a Virgin Australia plane. A flight attendant has defended his time in the galley during a flight saying it was part of his job. Photo / File
Seats on a Virgin Australia plane. A flight attendant has defended his time in the galley during a flight saying it was part of his job. Photo / File

He took aim at the colleagues who reported the allegations saying they had their anonymity protected while setting in a motion a chain of events that had destroyed his life.

"I have felt such a sense of shame since this whole thing started. Throughout the process I had tried to protect my parents by not revealing all of the details of my exit from Virgin Australia.

"I have carried this weight for such a long time. My parents became aware of all of the details through the article in the NZ Herald.

"They are devastated for me and are saddened by the idea that I have essentially walked this journey alone."

Loli, a flight attendant since 2008, said the airline he "once cherished" had taken away his livelihood over "gossip, innuendo and false claims".

"These last 23 months have been hell. I have had to move away from home just to get away from it, but it haunts me.

"It follows me everywhere and I am determined to not let it be the entire story that the world tells about me," he said.

"I waited for such a long time to get to an outcome, but the system has failed and it's just not good enough.

"Raising a claim against your employer is hard enough. To then be taken through the wringer again by the process, should not be how it works.

"The system needs improvement, and the person - not just the claim - needs to be kept in focus."

His advocate, law clerk Emma Moss, said Loli would appeal the ERA decision to the Employment Court because the authority remedies did not accurately reflect the harm caused.

She had set up a Givealittle page to help fund Loli's appeal.

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