Air New Zealand Drops Ban On Staff Tattoos

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Air New Zealand Drops Ban On Staff Tattoos

Air New Zealand will finish a ban on staff having noticeable tattoos; in a move it says will permit staff to express cultural and individual variety.

Some New Zealanders with Maori heritage wear tattoos to mark their genealogy and heritage.

The airline said that from 1 September, all staffs will be able to display “non-offensive” tattoos at work.

It said there was growing approval of tattoos, particularly as a means of personal look.

The airline’s tattoo limits attracted criticism and some suspect it of hypocrisy for using other aspects of Maori culture – such as language and symbols – in its marketing efforts.

Local media also informed the policy shift comes after high-profile cases of individuals who had been refused roles at Air New Zealand because of visible tattoos.

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Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon said the firm required to embrace variety and permit staffs “to express individuality or cultural heritage”.

“We need to liberate all our staff including uniform wearers such as cabin crew, pilots and airport customer service teams, who will, for the first time, be able to have non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing their uniforms.”

The airline said investigation found out of one in five adult New Zealanders has at least one tattoo, with more than 35% of people under 30 tattooed.

For people of Maori descent, markings known as moko are imprinted into the skin using chisels. They are sacred from tradition, denoting a person’s links with their family and cultural identity.

Air New Zealand said the move to drop the prohibition followed five months of study with customers and staff.

A spokesperson for the national carrier said that it would be “treat tattoos like speech” to determine what would be considered offensive.

“In the same way you shouldn’t swear, make hateful remarks, lewd jokes, or use violent language in the workplace for example, the same goes for tattoos,” the spokesperson said.

She said where the condition is undecided; the airline will have a Tattoo Review Panel “to assist staffs and managers to determine whether a tattoo is aligned with our policy”.

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