Travel Agents

Agency owner refused hire over tattoos

Hannah Edensor

A WA travel agency owner has come under fire for not hiring a woman based on her tattoos.

David van der Meer appeared on Today Tonight after he admitted he didn’t employ a woman who was qualified for the role because she had a sleeve tattoo on her arm.

Van der Meer told the news program that while he had no problem with people choosing to get tattoos, it was his right to choose not to employ them.

“My personal view as an employer is, it just doesn’t sit right with me,” he said.

“If you can hide it, no problems. But if you can’t hide it, and it’s up here [on your neck], across there [forearms] then I have a problem with it,” van der Meer told Today Tonight.

“Maybe my clients wouldn’t have a problem with it, but me as an employer and in my office, it wouldn’t suit.”

The travel industry is, in fact, full of people who’ve chosen to get tattoos, including these seven travel industry workers that showed off their ink to Travel Weekly and explained why they were so proud of them.

The interview with Today Tonight saw van der Meer admit he deemed one woman “not employable” due to a long sleeve tattoo on her arm.

“I looked at her CV and she did have the qualifications, but I couldn’t help it; I filed it away thinking, ‘not employable’.

“I think if someone had a scar they couldn’t hide, then that would be discrimination [to refuse to hire them] on my part, but when it comes to a tattoo, it’s a choice,” he said.

And according to the current Fair Work Ombudsman laws, it’s not considered discrimination if someone refused to employ a person because of their tattoos.

“They’ve got every right to get a tattoo, but I’ve got every right then to not employ them, based on that tattoo.”

van der Meer told Today Tonight that if it came down to two candidates for a job, each with the same qualifications, he would choose the person without tattoos.

He told them he has no problems with people working in bars and restaurants with tattoos, but believes in professional standards in the workplace.

“When it comes to a professional uniform, I still have a problem with it,” he added.

“It’s my business, and I should have the final say in what I’m trying to project.”

You can watch the segment here.


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