BRITISH Airways is reviewing its decades-old ban on staff having tattoos – after a job candidate was rejected for having a small inking on his hand.
The applicant for a behind the scenes cargo role was sent packing over a tattoo of the word “believe” on the back of his hand.
The 24-year-old claims he was unaware of BA’s strict tattoo policy at the time of his assessment on Monday and has branded the rules “discriminatory”.
Today, however, BA confirmed they may finally be relaxing the policy – in place since the airline’s creation in 1974 – in line with a full review of their uniforms.
The airline has previously been criticised for its strict ban on tattoos and in the most recent case, the would-be cargo handler, who wants to be known only by his first name, Chand, was not even applying for a public-facing role.
He claims that when his tattoo was spotted at interview, his application was immediately terminated and he was told the tattoo was “discriminatory”.
A furious Chand, from Harrow, London, took to social media following the interview for the job at Heathrow Airport to complain to the airline.
He posted a photo of his tattoo with the caption: “Can someone please explain how this is a discriminatory tattoo?”
British Airways social media team then replied: “Not that we can see, is there a reason you’re asking?”
Chand replied: “Applied for a job in cargo, got an interview, no questions relating to tattoos on the application form.
“Got the to the interview to be told I can’t be interviewed because of the tattoo.
“It’s not customer facing nor is it discriminatory. Not to mention, wasn’t part of the application process. This should be made more clear.”
Speaking today, Chand said: “It’s discriminatory to people with tattoos.
“A tattoo doesn’t define a person’s character or personality. It tells a story about them.
“Most people get tattoos that mean something to them, although there are some who get them for the art. It’s a ridiculous policy.”
An British Airways spokeswoman said: “We are reviewing the guidelines on tattoos for all our uniform-wearing colleagues.
“We ask all applicants to these roles to confirm they have no visible tattoos before they are invited to assessment.”
In 2014, Larissa Westcott from Windsor, Berkshire had her dreams of becoming a BA cabin crew member dashed, after informing recruiters she had a small tattoo of her star sign on her foot.
The student described her “humiliation” at being turned away over the inking, which cost her the chance at her dream job.
BA are not the only airline with strict policies in this area.
American Airlines’ uniform code states their employees “must present a professional image” which they consider rules out any visible piercings or inkings.
Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Qatar Airways and Etihad are among major airlines which also have a ban on visible tattoos.