Sacking for long hair ruled unfair

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The Independent Online
A COMPUTER engineer sacked for refusing to get his shoulder-length hair cut won his claim for unfair dismissal yesterday.

An industrial tribunal awarded Kevin Lloyd, 36, of Waterman Way, Wapping, east London, pounds 4,351 for loss of earnings but it rejected his allegation of sexual discrimination. David Milton, the tribunal chairman, said that the approach taken by Mr Lloyd was too simplistic. 'It does not seem appropriate to carry out an inch by inch comparison of the length of men's hair and women's hair.'

Mr Lloyd, whose annual salary package totalled pounds 32,000, was dismissed from On Line Software, of Hanover Square, central London, in September 1991, when it was taken over by an American company, Computer Associates.

Mr Milton said that Computer Associates was entitled to change the regulations of dress and appearance when it took over. 'The problem we find with the handling was the dramatic speed with which the applicant was required to change and fit in with the new management's approach.'

He added that since Computer Associates had moved the goal posts, it was up to the company to work out some sort of compromise - and the dismissal was therefore 'unsatisfactory and unreasonable'.

The award was reduced by 50 per cent because there was a 50 per cent chance that Mr Lloyd would have been dismissed anyway, had the appropriate appeals proceedings been followed.