This tattoo costs her jobs, but it's not discrimination

A TEENY tiny tattoo of an anchor has cost a woman her chance of winning work with two major international airlines, but under Australian workplace laws, it does not count as discrimination.

The tattoo on the inside of the Gold Coast woman's ankle is about the size of a 10 cent piece.

Chontelle McGoldrick told that she applied to work for both Qantas and Emirates airlines this year, but was rejected because of the dainty ink.

"Both airlines said they wanted to offer me a position but they couldn't because of my tattoo," she said.

"They said some cultures and religions find them offensive, so I was told to come back when it's completely gone and there can't be any scarring or marks."

It is understood both Qantas and Emirates have policies about in-flight staff having visible tattoos, as do most airlines.

The policies, however, do not amount to discrimination. New workers are expected to be told about the rules regarding tattoos or piercings.

The Fair Work Commission found in 2014 it had no power to rule on disputes between staff and employers over tattoos.

The Australian Human Rights Commission explains employers are able to set rules about the appearance of staff, as long they it's reasonable and not on the grounds of race, sex or gender identity.

It gave the following examples:

An employer had a policy to refuse to hire any workers with visible tattoos, even for roles that involved no customer contact.

A Maori job applicant who had a tattoo for reasons connected to his ethnic origin was not hired because of his tattoo. This could be racial discrimination.