Avoiding Allegations of Discrimination: What NOT to say
From BBC News 14/04/09:
A cabin crew boss was forced to employ only young, slim, single women to crew private aircraft, a tribunal has heard.
Alexandria Proud, from London, has claimed unfair constructive dismissal by charter aircraft firm Gama Aviation.
Miss Proud said she was verbally abused by aircraft owner Alireza Ittehedeh and not supported by her employer.
Gama Aviation supplies pilots and flight attendants for about 30 privately-owned aircraft.
Miss Proud said she was forced to discriminate when recruiting cabin staff on grounds of sex, marital status and age, and criticised for not getting enough suitable candidates.
"The successful candidate would be female, physically attractive, aged 18 to 30, single and no larger than a size 12," said Miss Proud.
"I was also specifically informed that if there was a male flight attendant it would be thought that he was gay and the owner would not tolerate such an individual on the aircraft."
Miss Proud issued a formal grievance against the firm's director of operations Steve Wright after he behaved "inappropriately" and was aggressive, the Southampton tribunal heard.
I know throw-away comments are uttered on the spur of the moment with little regard paid to tact (and legislative provisions relating to discrimination by employers) but if there was ever a classic example of something a boss should absolutely not, ever say to his recruiter, this is surely it. But besides from the potential for falling foul of employment discrimination legislation, I don’t know how much business-sense it would make to hire candidates who were very similar in age, sex, weight and appearance etc. Given the diversity of people who own private aircraft, it seems unlikely that they would all have identical desires as to the cabin crew they would want to serve them in the skies. I’m also curious as to how Mr Ittehedeh would react to discovering that certain members of his exclusively female cabin crew (who ostensibly conformed to his exacting standards) were actually gay. Would he find that equally egregious?