Age discrimination is a terrible thing, but it must be particularly galling to be an experienced 57-year-old manager at a distinguished London hotel, and then lose your job to an attractive 28-year-old woman who your boss admits was hired because of her looks.
That’s exactly what happened to Amia Ismail, 57, who worked as restaurant manager at the Kenilworth branch of the Radisson Edwardian chain of hotels before being transferred to Cromwell Road in 2001. The reason? Senior management wanted a younger staff.
“The Kenilworth was completely refurbished to give it a new image, ” Mr Ismail said. “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.
“I was then aged 48, so I was transferred to the Vanderbilt. I was replaced by an attractive young woman of about 28 years old. I told the Human Resources director it was not right.”
Once at the Vanderbilt he witnessed further age discrimination and sexism. Mr Ismail continued: “On one occasion the general manager Charles Oak asked me what I thought of the food and beverages team and I said they seemed fine.
“He said he did not like the fact that in my department there were three Philippine ladies who he said were ugly, fat, old and short.
“I remember that [another staff member] asked him what sort of staff he wanted and Mr Oak said he wanted girls who were young, blonde, sexy and with short skirts.”
Mr Ismail was made redundant by the hotel chain in 2009 after 18 years of service. He is currently suing the firm for unfair dismissal on the grounds of ageism, racism, disability and religious beliefs. The hearing continues.