Virgin Blue loses age discrimination case

Virgin Blue loses age discrimination case

By Mark Todd October 10, 2005 - 1:44PMe

Eight flight attendants have won an age discrimination case against airline Virgin Blue.The women, aged between 36 and 56, claimed Virgin Blue discriminated against them in job interviews that required applicants to dance and sing

The women all attended "assessment centres", where they were asked to sing, dance and perform. None of them made it past the first round.

The flight attendants — all former Ansett workers — alleged in the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal in Brisbane that they were refused jobs with the airline because of their age.

During an earlier hearing, one of the attendants, Theresa Stewart, 52, said she was refused a job at the airline in late 2001 despite her 27 years' experience, because she didn't have the "Virgin flair".

"The assessment was designed to view a large number of people in a very short space of time to see how they look. They were after a certain look that appeals to Richard Branson," she said.

"If you had two beautiful blonde girls, 25 and gorgeous, then they went to them like homing pigeons."

Virgin Blue said it had not hired cabin crew over the age of 36 in a two-year recruitment drive because mostly young women had applied.

However, the court sided with the women.

Tribunal member Douglas Savage, SC, upheld all the complaints and awarded costs against Virgin Blue.

Compensation is due to be decided within four weeks.

The flight attendants declined to comment after the decision was handed down. It is understood they have signed a deal with a commercial television station.

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