Security guard denied job because of tattoo

Security guard Tom Bibby has missed out on a job - because his facial tattoos would upset customers.

The 38-year-old has spent almost a decade in the security industry and worked at city centre shops including Primark, Netto and B&M Bargains.

But out-of-work Tom was shocked to find out he cannot work at Stoke station because of the tribal markings above his right eye.

Tom had the tattoo as a reminder of his uncle's Maori heritage.

Now he has complained to Virgin Trains about discrimination and approached his MP Mark Fisher.

Tom, who last worked at Primark, in Hanley, had called National Car Parks (NCP) after seeing the Stoke station job advertised.

Tom, who lives with wife, Deborah, and their two children, Conair, aged eight, and three-year-old Raeven, said: "I couldn't believe it, no-one has even mentioned my tattoos before.

"I've been a security guard since leaving the Army in 1996, and have since moved up to gain supervisor experience.

"I was chatting on the phone asking about the Stoke station job when I mentioned my tattoos.

"I was asked if they were visible and when I said some were on my face I was immediately told I could not be employed because it could upset some customers.

"People should not be discriminated against because of their looks. Tattoos are just a decoration, I can't see why anyone would be scared of them.

"You don't qualify as a security guard if you are a troublemaker. I'm the opposite, more of a peacemaker.

"I want Virgin to change its policy. It's disgusting I can't have a job I am qualified for just because of how I look."

Deborah, aged 43, said: "The tattoo has never been a problem before and is not offensive.

"Tom is very approachable and will do anything for anyone.

"He deserves a chance for this job, is more than qualified and they should have at least met him."

Tom, from Birches Head, had his facial tattoo when he worked at Hanley's B&M Bargains about three years ago.

John Baldwin, who manages B&M Bargains, in Longton, said: "Tom was a good worker. His tattoos were never a problem and no customers ever complained about them."

An NCP worker confirmed to The Sentinel that the company was following Virgin Trains's policy in not employing people with visible tattoos for front-line customer service roles.

A Virgin Trains spokesman said: "None of our staff are allowed to have visible tattoos on display."