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Tattoos and piercings of Air Canada flight attendants in visible areas of the body during flight may be exposed

You want to become a flight attendant you cannot have visible tattoos or piercings. This personnel policy applies to most airlines in the world.

Until last week, Air Canada’s official personnel policy prohibited the display of tattoos and piercings (with the exception of matching stud earrings in both ears) in visible places of the body while at work.

In light of changing social standards, the labor arbitrator ruled that Air Canada cabin crew during flights should be allowed to wear discreet but visible tattoos as well as ear and nose piercings without fear of disciplinary action.

In his verdict, labour arbitrator William Kaplan put an end to the personnel policy that had been described by Air Canada’s cabin crew unions as “unreasonable and discriminatory.”

Following this verdict, don’t be surprised if in the near future you see the Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge cabin crew with what the judge has just authorized. Permitted are henna tattoos as temporary forms of body decoration, generally using a paste of certain plants, if worn for religious, cultural or ceremonial reasons, visible but “discreet” tattoos anywhere except most of the head or neck as long as they are not offensive or refer to “nudity, hatred, violence, drugs, alcohol, discrimination or harassment”.

Judge Kaplan increased the number of earrings allowed in one ear from one to three, as well as allowing a single nose piercing.

In theory, however, not everything will be allowed. As ruled by the arbitrator, for earrings, they must be of ordinary gold, rose gold, silver, diamond, wood or pearl and must be a stud “no larger than a quarter inch” (approx. 7mm), the earring must not be larger than a Canadian dime.

The nose piercing must also be a stud or hoop that must “fit snugly and evenly over the nostril”.

Any visible ornaments that stretch the ear or nose in any way, such as spacers, gauges, plugs or tunnels, are still prohibited.

According to the judge, the changes are to ensure compliance with collective agreements with employees as well as with the Canadian Human Rights Act.

According to the trade unions, the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), forcing employees to cover up their discreet tattoos and remove additional piercings caused them stress and anxiety.

Air Canada agreed with the ruling and recognized it as a sign of the times.

The president of the trade union CUPE expressed the hope that employees of other airlines, which have similarly restrictive personnel policies regarding tattoos and piercings, will be encouraged by this ruling to speak on the matter.

The Canadian ruling is the first ever ruling in this sector in the world.

In most airlines in the world, a candidate for a position of a flight attendant undergoes an interview, and after its successful completion, as a further part of the recruitment process – medical examination.

For comparison, at the German airline Lufthansa, if a flight attendant has a tattoo in visible areas of the body, she/he has the choice of either removing the tattoo or not applying for the job. If, on the other hand, she/he has piercings, she/he will have to take them off while working.

Pic taken from Facebook page of Air Canada Component of CUPE

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