Monday, October 10, 2005

Industrial Relations: You know I can't dance, you know I can't dance

Eight Australian flight attendants have won their age discrimination case against airline Virgin Blue.

Aged between 36 and 56, the women claimed that Virgin Blue had discriminated against them in job interviews by requiring applicants to dance and sing.

Applicants attended "assessment centres", where they were asked to sing, dance and perform. None of the women made it past the first round despite the fact they were all former Ansett flight attendants. The eight women claimed they were discriminated against because of their age. One of the victims said she was refused a job at the airline because she didn't have the "Virgin flair".

Tribunal member Douglas Savage, SC, upheld all the complaints and awarded costs against Virgin Blue."I find that the case of direct discrimination on the basis of age made by each of the complainants is made out..I order that the respondents pay the complainants' costs of these proceedings."

He said that the airline's job interviewers were "comparatively young" and identified "with persons of the same age and experience as the assessors, or what the assessors regarded as ... a fun person".

Virgin Blue have amended their recruitment practices but there should have been no need to amend them in the first place.

I was trained in recruitment procedures and legislation, and there is no reason why Virgin could not have adhered to acceptable interview and assessment procedures. Except of course, everything they do seems to be so damn tacky.

Title from Leo Sayer's "Long Tall Glasses"