HE has an extensive list of skills and qualifications – but Edward Johnson says he cannot get a job because employers find him “too ugly.”
Mr Johnson, 53, of Holgate, York, told today how he was born with a disfiguring skin condition that has left him with hundreds of benign tumours all over his body and face.
The father-of-two said he was desperate for work after being made redundant last month, but despite applying for 80 jobs, he was yet to be offered anything permanent and he believed he was being discriminated against.
He said: “When people turn you down because they don’t want you on show on their shop floor, that hurts because I can do the job just as good as the next person.
“A lot of people see my face and are scared of catching something even though it’s not infectious – I think employers feel uneasy about taking me on.
“I’m not tall. I’m not good- looking. I’m not rich. But people shouldn’t discriminate against me for that.”
“I’m not tall. I’m not good-looking. I’m not rich. But people shouldn’t discriminate against me for that”
A FATHER-OF-TWO who is desperate to find work claims he is being discriminated against by employers because he is “too ugly to be on show”.
Edward Johnson suffers from the hereditary skin condition neurofibromatosis, which has left him with hundreds of benign tumours all over his body.
The 53-year-old, of Holgate, York, has applied for 80 jobs since he was made redundant last month.
Mr Johnson, who has 40 years experience in the food industry, said he believed he was being discriminated against because of his appearance.
He said: “A lot of people see my face and are scared of catching something even though it’s not infectious.
“I think employers feel uneasy about taking me on.
“What annoys me is that when I take my CV into supermarkets or hotels, they look at me and say the vacancy is filled, or I just never hear back from them.
“I’m registered with all the job agencies in York and one of them even mentioned my skin condition and said their clients wouldn’t like it.
“When people turn you down because they don’t want you on show on their shop floor, that hurts because I can do the job just as good as the next person.”
Mr Johnson worked as a hygiene supervisor at Kerry Sweet Ingredients, in Pocklington, for nearly ten years before he was made redundant due to restructuring of the company.
He said: “I’m not tall. I’m not good looking. I’m not rich. But people shouldn’t discriminate against me for that.
“People have got to take me for who I am, for what skills I can offer and for what qualifications I have.
“I’m standing up for everybody who has been discriminated against because it’s time to tackle this head-on. It shouldn’t be allowed.
“The way things work in places like hotels, is that if you are good- looking you are put out the front and if you are ugly you are put out the back.”
Mr Johnson said he was looking for a full-time permanent job, but was even struggling to find temporary work in the meantime.
He said: “I’ve got a CV packed full of qualifications. But since the beginning of September, all I’ve been offered is one day on a potato farm, one day in a school kitchen and a temporary job cleaning in a shop.
“I’ve taken them all because I’m happy to do anything, I just want to work. I don’t want to be claiming benefits.
“I’m prepared to work, I need to work and I want to work. If it means retraining in another job I will do it.”
There is no cure for neurofibromatosis, which is a hereditary condition affecting about 25,000 in the UK.
Mr Johnson said: “I used to get called things like ‘lumpy bumpy’, but you grow accustomed to being tough against it and just take it as a laughing joke.”
Charity plea over skin condition reaction
CHARITY bosses today condemned discrimination by employers against people with the skin condition neurofibromatosis.
Changing Faces, a charity that supports and represents people with facial disfigurements, said it was important that employers were given the full facts to prevent such discrimination.
Henrietta Spalding, of Changing Faces, said: “If employers are unfamiliar with disfigurements they can, on an unconscious level, make an unwitting judgement about someone based on their appearance. The most important thing is to understand what the disfigurement is about so they can treat the person equally and fairly.
“If someone is going to interview, it is important that they are not making a set of assumptions that are incorrect, based on how they look.”
She added: “Neurofibro-matosis is not in any way infectious and it’s important that employers understand this. We work with employers to raise awareness about skin disfigurements to help them understand about the condition and what it means.
“We want them to realise that a person with a skin disfigurement has a whole set of skills, experience and potential and they are able to add value to an organisation.”
• Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that mainly affects the nervous system.
• It is caused by a mutation in a gene that affects the DNA coding. This gene can be inherited from your parents, or it may spontaneously change itself for no reason. In this case, the mutation usually happens in the egg or sperm just before conception • It affects men, women and ethnic groups equally • It causes non-cancerous tumours to grow on nerves throughout the body • There is no cure for neurofibromatosis, but the Neurofibromatosis Association is working towards better treatments • Genetic screening and counselling is available for families with a history of neurofibromatosis.
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