Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Employers Rights v Staff Self Expression

As a company that regularly grandstands its social responsibility, Air New Zealand will be hyper-sensitive about the unfolding news story of its alleged discriminatory employment policy of turning away hostess staff with visible tattoos.  

We note that the precious and self-righteous job applicant is being pimped by the media as a naive victim being shunned by a mean "culturally insensitive" Air New Zealand.

This story has a lot in common with a story we posted in 2011 about a rare Employer WIN - A hospitality worker lost her case with the Human Rights Commission after claiming that she was discriminated against because of her visible tattoo.

The hospitality worker claimed she was "humiliated" by her former boss after he allegedly made her cover up a tattoo on her forearm with a staff uniform provided for her during a catering function.

In the hospitality worker's case, it was established that the employer has the right to insist that staff are appropriately presented in a customer service role and this included restricting staff flaunting visible tattoos. We reckon that's fair enough.

We can understand after being sheltered by the liberal elite in the education system, many New Zealanders may adopt the mistaken belief that the world owes them a living and others should blindly accept their inked self-expression. Unfortunately in the real world, anyone that adorns their body with a visible tattoo, that may include ink of a self-imposed spiritual significance, needs to take personal responsibility and accept that they WILL be limiting their future employment options.

In the hospitality and travel industry it is accepted that an employee's individual expression should be left at the gate. As a general guideline, it is not unreasonable to expect staff to look, talk and act in a way that is acceptable to the environment they are working in. Particular attention must be taken when staff deal with or are in view of the public. It may be accepted that staff should wear a well presented uniform, tie their hair back, and remove caps. Piercings and excessive jewellery should be removed and staff should not swear, chew gum, swear, spit, wander around clutching cell phones AND keep tattoos covered...

Luckily, Mrs Motella does not have any similar issues with her employer as she does not find the necessity to expose her indulgent body adornment while at work...:

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