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Hair salon’s ad for a happy stylist is banned over ‘bias’

Comb off it: Alison Birch with stylist Claire Young PICTURE: SWNS

A HAIRDRESSER was told by her local job centre she couldn’t run an advert for a ‘happy’ stylist because it ‘discriminated’ against miserable people.

Alison Birch was looking for a part-time worker at AJ’s Unisex Hair Salon in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

She posted an ad for someone with five years’ experience of working in a salon, who is ‘confident in barbering as well as all aspects of hairdressing’.

It went on: ‘This is a busy, friendly, small salon, so only happy, friendly stylist need apply.’

Later that day she received a call from the job centre, which she transcribed and later posted on Facebook.

Job centre: ‘Hi, I need to talk to you about your job advert.’ Ms Birch: ‘Hi, what would you like to know?’

Job centre: ‘I am sorry but we can’t place your advert because you have put a discriminatory word in it and we need to change it.’ Ms Birch: ‘Have I? Oh my God! What have I put in? I am really sorry…’

Job centre: ‘You said it is a happy salon and only happy people should apply. I am sorry but the word “happy” is a discriminatory word and we aren’t allowed to use it. I can read you the rules on discrimination if you like, but it is a long document. Should we change the word in case somebody thinks that they can’t apply for the job because they are not a happy person?’

Ms Birch: ‘But I only want happy people.’ Job centre: ‘As I said, it’s a discriminatory word and you are not allowed to use it.’

At which point, Ms Birch said she was withdrawing the ad.

The Department for Work and Pensions yesterday blamed a ‘staff mistake’ for the phone call, saying it has apologised and offered to repost the original.