Virgin Atlantic’s new uniform policy allows employees to select the uniform they prefer based on their gender identity.
Last Wednesday, the airline announced in a press release that it has changed its gender identity policy. The new policy removes the requirement for its staff to wear gendered uniforms as an effort to support the staff’s individuality.
Additionally, Virgin Atlantic has also announced the introduction of optional pronoun badges, and ticketing system amends to allow travelers to select ‘U’ or ‘X’ gender codes as well as gender-neutral titles.
The company will also roll out mandatory inclusivity training for its employees as well as a series of inclusivity learning initiatives for tourism partners and hotels.
Designed by Vivienne Westwood, the iconic red and burgundy staff uniforms will no longer be categorized under “male” and “female,” meaning LGBTQ+ employees will be able to choose either the red or the burgundy uniform, depending on which best reflects themselves.
According to a recent study, enabling employees to express themselves at work boosts happiness (65%), increases mental wellbeing (49%), creates a more positive workplace culture (36%) and provides a better experience for customers (24%).
The updated gender identity policy is so important to me. As a non-binary person, it allows me to be myself at work and have the choice in what uniform I wear.Jamie Forsstroem, cabin crew member
Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said the airline wants its employees to “embrace their individuality, and be their true selves at work.”
“At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are. That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.” stressed Jarvinen.
Virgin Atlantic said that the new uniform policy is part of its “Be Yourself” agenda, which includes a series of inclusivity initiatives for its employees. In June, the British airline lifted restrictions around allowing visible tattoos for crew members and its front-line people. In 2019, the company started offering cabin crew the choice of whether to wear make-up as well as the option to wear trousers and flat shoes.