Virgin faces job hunter race claims

VirginA job hunter is demanding an apology from Virgin Atlantic after being rejected for a job in his name of Max Kpakio - but accepted when he re-submitted a fresh application under a more British name.

African-born Mr Kpakio, 36, accused Sir Richard Branson's airline of racial discrimination at an employment tribunal in Cardiff.

After the university graduate was turned down for a job at Virgin's Swansea call centre, he re-applied under the name of Craig Owen.

As well as changing the name on the CV, he said he simplified his work experience and ensured he made several spelling mistakes.

Not only did the firm offer "Mr Owen" an interview - but they also repeatedly chased him for one after he failed to respond to their request.

Mr Kpakio had initially sought damages in the region of £55,000 - but now says he does not want a penny from Virgin and is pursuing the matter out of principle.

But Virgin strongly refuted his claims - and insisted it was an equal opportunities employer.

Bosses said the two CVs were markedly different - and Mr Owen's application showed better experience than Mr Kpakio's.

Mr Kpakio was born in Liberia but moved with his family to Swansea in 2002 to escape civil war. He has since been granted British citizenship and has earned a degree in international relations at Swansea University.

Following the completion of both sets of arguments, the tribunal retired to make its verdict. It will let both parties know its judgement, in writing, within the next 28 days.