When the world is staring at a global recession post the lockdowns in many countries, there are barely any job offerings. But when this salon put out a job ad looking for a “happy” stylist, they couldn’t have imagined the response. Before applicants could even respond, a local job center criticized the job ad and said it was discriminatory.
“Happy” Job Ad Discriminatory?
But what was so discriminatory about this stylist job? The center argued that by asking for “happy” stylists, the salon was discriminating against unhappy job seekers. No, there was no sarcasm in their argument.
Alison Birch is the owner of AJ’s UnisexHair Salon in Stroud, England. She posted a job ad where she sought a part-time hairdresser. The position required at least 5 years’ experience of salon work and preferred someone “confident in barbering as well as all aspects of hairdressing.”
The job ad stated that the place was a small and friendly one so they are also looking for candidates who are happy and friendly.
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Soon Birch was on the receiving end of a call from a job center. They denied running the ad since the word “happy” is considered “discriminatory”. Birch explained how the call went where it was explained to her people who don’t consider themselves happy might feel marked out. She shared the incident on her Facebook page.
Birch said that the person from the job center asked her: “Should we change the word in case somebody thinks that they can’t apply for the job because they are not a happy person?”
In the middle of this unexpected call, Birch wondered if she was the one being too sensitive. She also wondered how a simple adjective like “happy” could be discriminatory or if the world had truly gone mad!
Is the world going mad?
Birch was not alone in her bewilderment. Many of her customers and other social media friends raised similar concerns. Julie Thickens commented how she thought it was a joke at first. Then she realized it was a real conversation, which left her speechless.
Charlie Brown tried to encourage Birch to stick to the “happy” aspect of her salon. He also asked her not to bother with such “numpties”!