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ISSUE 1693Thursday 13 January 2000
Pay-out for man denied bar job over his ponytail
By Paul Stokes

A MAN who was denied a part-time job because his hair was in a ponytail has been awarded more than 500 by an industrial tribunal.

Mark Pell, 21 today, claimed he was a victim of sexual discrimination by Neil Wagstaff, a pub manager. He had been told that he would not be considered for the two-nights-a-week job unless he had it cut. The tribunal in Sheffield awarded 566.69 for injury to feelings and loss of wages. It said the pub's code on long hair was "outmoded".

Mr Wagstaff, 46, said yesterday that the award was ridiculous. He said: "This is political correctness gone overboard."

Mr Pell, a heavy metal music fan, applied for a 3-an-hour job at the Wheatley Hotel, in Doncaster, last summer. He went smartly dressed in a purple shirt, black tie, black dress trousers and black shoes. His hair, which he has grown for three years and hangs 15 inches down his back, was tied with a bobble. He had previously worked in a garage sales department and for BT.

He said the interview with Mr Wagstaff was over virtually as soon as it began after he was asked if he was willing to get his hair cut to work behind the bar. "I said 'no' and he said there was no point in carrying on with the interview," said Mr Pell, of Rossington, near Doncaster.

He told the hearing: "I felt personally violated. I had been asked to change myself for a job. A female would not have been asked to cut her hair for the job. There were two youngish women behind the bar with long hair."

Mr Wagstaff, who runs the hotel with his wife Karen, 34, said it was popular with diners and business people who stayed overnight. Mr Pell's hair did not suit the image he wanted for male staff: short hair as favoured by the Armed Forces, the police and politicians.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2000.