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Graduate claiming racial discrimination against Virgin Atlantic


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A graduateis seeking thousands of pounds in compensation from Virgin Atlantic, after being refused a job under his real African name, but being invited for interview when he used a fake 'British' name.

Max Kpakio, 36, started his court battle against the airline giant on Monday, claiming £55,888 in compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

Mr Kpakio, who lives in Swansea, claims that his CV was rejected for a role in a call centre on the grounds of his name sounding African, despite including a wealth of detail and relevant experience in offering clients advice over the phone. He then stripped out a lot of the detail in the CV and resubmitted it under the name “Craig Owen”, which he believed sounded more British. “Craig Owen” was not only called for interview, but repeatedly contacted by Virgin Atlantic asking for a reply and saying they were looking forward to meeting him.

Mr Kpakio cites racial discrimination as the reason his first CV was rejected, as his potential employers would have inferred his African origins from his surname.

Virgin Atlantic, on the other hand, claim that the second CV was accepted as it included five years of experience in ASDA and Tesco that were not present on the first application. The company is standing by its reputation as an equal opportunities employer and accuse Mr Kpakio of actively seeking compensation, as he added different details to the second CV rather than simply changing name and ethnicity.

Mr Kpakio and his family moved from Liberia to Swansea in 2002 to escape civil war. He graduated with a degree from Swansea University in International Relations, and has gained British citizenship.

The legal procedures remain ongoing.

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