A five-star hotel chain is being charged by a former employee after he claimed he was told to fire employees who were not “sexy” and “blonde,” a tribunal heard recently.
Egyptian-born Amia Ismail, was transferred from one of the Radisson Edwardian hotel's central London branches to another in 2001. While away, he claims that he was replaced with an attractive 28-year old-woman as bosses wanted a new and younger image.
Mr Ismail, who was 48-years-old when he moved from the Kenilworth hotel in Bloomsbury to the Vanderbilt in 2001, said: “The Kenilworth was completely refurbished to give it a new image. When it was complete I was told I was going to be transferred because the new hotel needed a new and younger image and they wanted someone younger to run the restaurant.”
A central London tribunal also heard how a General Manager once asked Mr Ismail what he thought of the food and beverages team, three “Philippine ladies were ugly, fat, old and short”.
“I remember that (another staff member) asked him what sort of staff he wanted and Mr Oak (the General Manager) said he wanted girls who were young, blonde, sexy and with short skirts.”
Mr Ismail explained to the court that such instances were not rare, and a culture of ageism and sexism was rife within the hotel chain.
In addition, he alleged that managers were purposefully trying to push him out of his job after he went on a period of sick leave following several accidents at work which left him with long-running knee and ankle injuries.
And to add insult to injury, Mr Ismail, who is a Muslim, added he had also been the subject of religious discrimination as he was forwarded a joke email which disparaged Islamic groups, according to the Daily Mail.
While the hearing continues, employees who feel they have undergone similar abuse to Mr Ismail are being encouraged to challenge their employers with the help of unlawful discrimination claims experts.