Virgin Atlantic job name change race claim by Max Kpakio dismissed

Max Kpakio Max Kpakio submitted two applications to Virgin Atlantic

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A man born in the African country of Liberia who accused Virgin Atlantic of racial discrimination has had his case dismissed.

Max Kpakio, of Swansea, claimed he was rejected for a job interview with the airline's call centre until he applied again with the fake name "Craig Owen".

But Virgin insisted it was an equal opportunities employer.

A tribunal found race played no part and that Mr Kpakio's two applications were different.

Mr Kpakio, a 36-year-old father of three, claimed loss of earnings and injury to feelings from Sir Richard Branson's company, which amounted to £55,000.

Start Quote

They were different applications and the false application was clearly designed to meet the respondent's criteria for the role”

End Quote Judge Claire Sharp

Virgin Atlantic said the two CVs had differences which led to Mr Kpakio being rejected for the customer service role.

Mr Kpakio, who has lived in Britain for 10 years, was rejected for the role in the Swansea call centre and felt it was because of his unusual name, the tribunal heard.

But Virgin Atlantic told the employment tribunal in Cardiff there were differences between the two CVs Mr Kpakio submitted.

They say the "Craig Owen" application had five years' experience working in Asda and Tesco supermarkets, which were not on the other application.

In a written statement, Judge Claire Sharp said: "The tribunal wishes to be absolutely, clear given the press coverage in the hearing bundle, that the claimant did not merely change the names and ethnicity in the two applications; they were different applications and the false application was clearly designed to meet the respondent's criteria for the role."

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