Man says Republic denied him interview because of tattoos

February 21, 2013

A Florida man who claims Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc. denied him a job interview because of his tattoos can proceed with a civil rights complaint against the company, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission said Wednesday.

An investigation by the commission following a May complaint from Christopher Brooks found that he was qualified for a flight attendant job but was denied an interview by Republic because of the tattoos on his forearms.

“The issue before the commission is whether the alleging party was denied an interview based on his gender,” ICRC Deputy Director Akia Haynes said in a prepared statement. “Records show that female employees were permitted to sign a waiver indicating they would agree to conceal their tattoos.  However, the alleging party was informed he was not eligible to sign this waiver.”

Republic spokesman Peter Kowalchuk said the company doesn’t comment on matters that might involve litigation.

A finding of probable cause means the commission has concluded its preliminary investigation and determined enough evidence exists to move forward with a civil right complaint, the commission said.

Brooks, 28, of Pensacola, said his case has been assigned to an attorney with the state and that he is awaiting his options. In the meantime, he is set to begin flight attendant training in April for another airline, Brooks said.

The state’s civil rights law provides remedies to violations, including compensatory damages and injunctive relief, such as changes in the employer’s policies and training.



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