Hairdresser can't advertise for happy stylist – because of discrimination fears

A hair salon was told it cannot advertise for a ‘happy’ stylist because the word is ‘discriminatory’ – against unhappy people.

Alison Birch was recruiting for a part-time qualified hairdresser at her AJ’s Unisex Hair Salon in Stroud, Gloucestershire, with the ad calling for someone with five years experience of working in a salon, who is “confident in barbering as well as all aspects of hairdressing”.

And the advert stated: “This is a busy, friendly, small salon, so only happy, friendly stylist need apply.”

But Alison says she received a call her local job centre informing her they could not run her advert – because the word ‘happy’ is considered ‘discriminatory’, GloucestershireLive reports.

She claims the job centre told her that the advert may make some people feel they cannot apply, if they do not consider themselves to be a ‘happy’ person.

Alison shared the conversation she had with the job centre on the salon’s Facebook page, claiming a man at the job centre said to her: “I’m sorry, but the word happy is a discriminatory word and we aren’t allowed to use it, as somebody who is not happy will be discriminated against.”



He then asked: “Should we change the word in case somebody thinks that they can’t apply for the job because they are not a happy person?”

Alison added: “Was I being a bit sensitive, and is the word happy discriminative? Or has this whole world all gone mad?”

Posting about the matter on the salon’s Facebook page, she said she rejected the caller’s suggestion to change ‘happy’ for another word and said her advert would have to come off the site.

After receiving several messages from people who supported her and said they were amazed by what had happened, Alison added on her page: “I am to scared to advertise my job now in case I discriminate against anybody and everybody lol xxx”

Plenty of Alison’s customers agreed with her outrage.

Karen Evans commented: “The world has gone absolutely mad. Does this mean that every descriptive word is discriminative… happy, tall, smart, elegant? Good luck with your search.”

Julie Thickins added: “I thought this was a joke, realising it clearly isn’t has left me absolutely speechless… what has the human race come to?”

The Department for Work & Pensions, which runs job centres, has been approached for comment.

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