ANGRY: Max Kpakio
VIRGIN ATLANTIC is being sued for racial discrimination after allegedly rejecting the application from a man because of his African surname.
Max Kpakio applied for a position at a newly-opened Virgin Atlantic call centre in Swansea and was turned down. But when he reapplied for the same job using a typical British name he was invited for an interview.
Speaking to Wales Online, the father-of-two said: “A friend told me they were taking on staff and I went along to a presentation in their offices. At the presentation it was made clear that the people taken on did not need any qualification, and that training would be provided.
“I’d offered advice to clients over the telephone before, so I believed I was a very good candidate for the job. When I was sent a rejection, I couldn’t understand it – I thought I had provided a very good CV.”
Liberian-born Kpakio graduated from a Swansea university in 2008 with a BA in international relations and has also carried out paid and voluntary work for several organisations, all of which were included in his CV.
Despite this, Kpakio, a British citizen, received a rejection letter which stated: “Your application has now been screened and I am sorry to tell you that unfortunately your application has not reached the next stage of the recruitment process.”
Believing his rejection was based on his ethnic origin, Kpakio applied for the job a second time, using a much shorter CV, which included a politics degree from Swansea University, work experience as a checkout assistant for Asda and Tesco Express and the name “Craig Owen.”
Following this application, “Craig Owen” received an offer for an interview with to which Kpako did not respond.
He said: “They were in touch with me seven or eight times, and kept coming back to me when I didn’t respond. There was an enormous difference in the way I was treated when I used a British name.”
Kpakio has since made an application to the employment tribunal alleging racial discrimination.
The case is due to be heard in April.