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Diversity and Inclusion in AirNZ

Published 12 Jun 2019

Air New Zealand has been in the spotlight before around its policy against visible tattoos particularly for its front-line staff. They have now reconsidered and formed a new stance.

Considering New Zealand's culture, keeping up with 'social norms' and embracing diversity & inclusion, all staff will be permitted to have non-offensive or inappropriate tattoos visible.

While the non-hiring of a job candidate or even termination of existing employees on the basis of tattoos could be deemed discriminatory especially if the tattoo has cultural or religious meaning to the bearer, it is acceptable for the Employer to have a policy around this issue provided it can be argued that it is reasonable for the type of work done and that policy has been enforced fairly across all employees in the workplace in similar roles.

In order to protect yourself from a claim of discrimination you need to be careful, check that your wording in advertising a vacancy does not accidentally exclude any candidates based on grounds prohibited by the Human Rights Act; and ensure that if you inform an unsuccessful job candidate you don’t provide an illegal discriminatory reason for not selecting them.

If taking disciplinary steps against an Employee for breaches in this respect you need to be able to prove you have such a policy and the staff member knew about the enforcement measures.

Diversity and Inclusion (DI) has also become a hot phrase in the workplace in recent time, with Employers being asked if they have a set policy around this in some instances.

If you need a good starting place for a policy on this matter please see our policy pack for a suggested sample DI policy. This policy is already loaded in the Employers Toolbox.