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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Dress employment ruling


    by Rumbold on 17th June, 2009 at 2:54 pm    

    Not sure about this one:

    “Fata Lemes, 33, worked at the Rocket Bar in Mayfair for eight days last year and was told female staff would have to wear the tight red dress in the summer. At the time the uniform was a black shirt and trousers for men and women.

    A panel upheld her claim that bar owners Spring and Green had discriminated against her on the grounds of her gender.”

    The owner sounds like a sexist oik. It is unreasonable to expect employees to dress provactively to attract business. It is also good that women are standing up to men like this. However, the award seemed excessive (not that I feel sorry for the owner):

    ” [The tribunal] granted £3,000 compensation and £711.73 in wages, plus interest, giving a total of £3,893.26.”

    The wages (+interest) makes sense. But I don’t quite understand what the £3,000 is for. Any ideas? Perhaps it is just something I missed in the article.

    (Hat-Tip: Sarah)



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    51 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Leon — on 17th June, 2009 at 2:56 pm  

      Damages? Emotional distress?

      Personally I’ve no problem with the amount, the only way fuckers like this are going to give a shit about this behaviour is a swift kick in the wallet.

    2. platinum786 — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:05 pm  

      Interestingly enough, the DailyMail had the same story, only they found a picture of her on facebook, wearing a much more revealing dress. Apparently the lawyers will be using that as well in their defence.

      The arugment would be, if your willing to dress like that and display pictures of yourself publically, where is the moral issue with dressing in a more modest dress in comparison at work?

      Having said that my judgement is clouded by her religion. She is Muslim and hence I personally consider it a bit hypocritical from a religious perspective.

      However If the woman in this case was not Muslim, would it be reasonable to ask her to wear her clubbing gear to work?

    3. hantsboy — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:11 pm  

      She is a Balkan Muslim .

      I always thought they wore their religion lightly (like the C of E) but it seems that orthodoxy nowadays pays dividends.

      Stand by for many more cases like this one.

    4. Nina — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:20 pm  

      It doesn’t matter what her religious background is. It’s her body and her choice how she dresses and if she doesn’t want to wear provocative clothes in a work environment- one that involves the sale of drugs- then she certainly shouldn’t have to unless it’s a requirement for all of the staff to do so.

    5. munir — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:21 pm  

      hantsboy
      “I always thought they wore their religion lightly (like the C of E) but it seems that orthodoxy nowadays pays dividends.”

      Orthodoxy?
      She’s working in a bar and taking interest!
      Not to mention she from an Islamic viewpoint was improperly dressed from the start

      Never ceases to amaze how knuckle draggers who know nothing about religion sound off about it . Seriously dont people feel shame or embarresement about taking of something they know next to nothing about?

    6. Katy Newton — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:23 pm  

      The £3000 would most likely be for injury to feelings, a separate award that you are entitled to if you succeed in a discrimination claim. There are three brackets, the lowest being 0-£5000. I would think that the Tribunal considered that this was a (relatively) minor case of discrimination and awarded accordingly.

      I’ve been quite amused at the coverage of this case, which (from the Daily Mail’s point of view) appears to be centred on the notion that because this woman has been photographed wearing sleeveless vests and so on in her spare time it’s somehow perfectly acceptable for her employers to require female employees (as opposed to male employees) to dress provocatively for work.

    7. hantsboy — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:24 pm  

      Orthodoxy when it suits her munir. ie plugging her Islamic modesty to boost damages. But neverless prepared to work in a bar to get employment.
      Bit like working in a Brothel and complaining at the demands of the customers.

    8. Leon — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:30 pm  

      So hantsboy I guess you’re one of the BNP types who think rape isn’t a crime because either?

    9. hantsboy — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:34 pm  

      So hantsboy I guess you’re one of the BNP types who think rape isn’t a crime because either?

      Now Leon don’t put words in mouths.

      The employment case is a try on.
      Not that I blame the lady who has to survive in a tough world. Her lawyers probably thought it would help her case. They have to make a living as well.

    10. munir — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:50 pm  

      like other Islamophobes hantsboy has jumped on the fact this lady is Muslim and suggested her religion was the motivation behind her complaint (though she clearly doesnt pay much attention to it elsewhere) How do you know her motivations were religious when she clearly isnt?

      Alison Pearson over at the Daily Heil has used this case to write a piece which is essentially incitment againt Muslim women

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1193520/ALLISON-PEARSON-No-madam-burkha-offended-MY-values.html

    11. Shatterface — on 17th June, 2009 at 3:59 pm  

      If the red dress had been standard when she took the job I’d support the employer, but they changed the rules and so they are in the wrong.

      And I don’t buy the argument that because she wears more revealing outfits on Facebook that she has no grounds to complain: her private life is her own.

      I’m not going to come into the office wearing my gimp mask.

    12. Katy Newton — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:05 pm  

      I really don’t get this Muslim angle that they seem to be playing here. This was a sex discrimination case. The women were told to do something that the men weren’t told to do. It’s not the worst case of discrimination ever but it undoubtedly is sex discrimination to require your female employees to dress provocatively to pull in customers whilst male employees wear normal conservative attire. There’s a big difference between wearing a sexy red dress to a function that you’ve chosen to go to and wearing a sexy red dress because your boss wants to use your looks to pull in the customers.

    13. Riz Din — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

      Rumbold, They should be reimbursed for all court costs. She is in the wrong. Here’s my thinking:

      A company’s workers are it’s assets but also it’s products, especially when it comes to the service sector. Now, if the manager/owner of the establishment wanted to attract a certain clientele by using the lure of eye candy, shouldn’t this be allowed. It’s just a form of marketing?

      Perhaps the labour law needs to better differentiate between workers as assets (e.g. manual workers and as products in and of themselves). Workers as products should be made more expendable.

      Hit me.

    14. bananabrain — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:22 pm  

      well, who’s playing the muslim card? did the woman play it, or did her lawyers play it, or is the press playing it? or a little of all three? sounds to me like she had plenty of reason without the question of religion being raised.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    15. Riz Din — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:58 pm  

      We’ve got a muslim card? I haven’t got mine yet. Would love to play it in an interview situation. Where does it rank? Is it a trump card? Does it beat the more generic ‘race card’, or do you would risk looking like the joker of the pack, a few cards short of a full deck, perhaps.

    16. Mango — on 17th June, 2009 at 4:59 pm  

      It’d be interesting to see who’s going to employ her next. Would you?

    17. British, not racist. — on 17th June, 2009 at 5:07 pm  

      Munir,

      There is no such thing as an “islamophobe” any more than there is a
      “naziophobe” or a “pedophileophobe”
      This woman is merely another example of muslims making themselves unemployable & an incentive for employers not to adverise jobs.

      Small wonder so many muslims are on the dole

    18. MaidMarian — on 17th June, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

      Rumbold - If anything you have aimed at the wrong target.

      She worked at the bar for 8 days - I wish I got £711 for 8 days work. The £3k does soung a bit high, but I assume if is for distress etc.

    19. Don — on 17th June, 2009 at 5:27 pm  

      I can’t see any reference to religion being an issue in the BBC story.

      As Munir says, there seems to have been an assumption that because she is a muslim that is her motivator. Her sense of modesty may well stem from her background religion without being religious in itself. After all, while I am a non-believer I can see that I still retain some of the attitudes which clearly stem from my fairly strict methodist upbringing.

      As for the FB photo, as others have pointed out, how comfortable you feel in a particular outfit depends on the situation. Someone might feel perfectly comfortable wearing swimwear on the beach but still object if an employer insisted they wear it to work. And a photo is a photo. Being ok with having a little cleavage on display in a photograph on FB is not remotely the same as wearing a provocative dress while serving drinkers who are actively looking for some hochmagandie and assume that women employed in the service industry are a commodity they can consume.

      And, as Shatterface points out the employer changed the rules. I’ve never been to a Mayfair cocktail bar and can’t really see it happening now, but I imagine that it is a given that staff should be personable. That may be ‘look-ist’ but I can’t see a way round it. If she was ok with black shirt and trousers fair enough, the switch to tight red dress was a significant change in terms of employment. Kind of the difference between waiting staff and serving wench.

      And slightly less than three grand can’t surely be big money to a Mayfair cocktail bar. God knows what they charge for a pint of Deuchars.

      It is, of course, still possible she was trying it on.

    20. Don — on 17th June, 2009 at 5:43 pm  

      MaidMarian,

      I wish I got £711 for 8 days work.

      I don’t know what hours she worked, but if was an eight hour day, I assume a lot of it after midnight, in central London, is a tenner an hour that excessive?

      Would you wear provocative clothing in a bar filled with whoever drinks in these places for a tenner an hour? ( I’m assuming, without any justification or actual knowledge, that a lot of the clientelle will be obnoxious yuppies who regard flashing the cash as a comprehensive and compelling courtship ritual.)

    21. Katy Newton — on 17th June, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

      I think it’s important to distinguish between gender issues and religious issues here. I don’t see that her religion is remotely relevant even if she did bring it up. Whether or not she happens to find the red dress particularly shocking because of her Muslim background - if that is what she said - is nothing to do with the question of whether her employers created a degrading or humiliating atmosphere for her at work on the basis of her gender. The fact is that a white Middle Englander asked to wear the same dress in the same circumstances would have had exactly the same cause for complaint, i.e. discrimination on grounds of gender.

    22. MaidMarian — on 17th June, 2009 at 6:10 pm  

      Don (21) - ‘Would you wear provocative clothing in a bar filled with whoever drinks in these places for a tenner an hour?’

      Well, there is a credit crunch on don’t ya know.

      Not much robbing from the rich etc at the moment.

    23. fug — on 17th June, 2009 at 6:22 pm  

      its good for the symbolic battle against the sexualisation of everything, which was a cute, if crude reaction to victorian prudishness wish is getting rather annoying now.

    24. Refresh — on 17th June, 2009 at 6:32 pm  

      I would say £3000 is insufficient. There are two issues the damages should cover, distress to the employee and a deterrent to employers.

    25. SLartius — on 17th June, 2009 at 6:54 pm  

      The humbug count on this blog is well over 8.0 on the Richter scale.

      Why on Earth was she working in such a place? What, in general, did she expect? Why, if she is a Muslim, was she serving alcohol?

      It’s like the Muslim girl who wanted to wear a haedscarf while working at a ladies hairdresser.

      Its like the Muslim cook cooking for non-muslims who decides he doesn’t want to handle pork.

      You are giving Islamphobia a good name! For goodness sake get real!

    26. Don — on 17th June, 2009 at 7:02 pm  

      #26

      You haven’t actually read the comments, have you?

    27. Shatterface — on 17th June, 2009 at 7:10 pm  

      A Muslim cook who takes a job in a halal restaurant only for the owners to decide they will now serve pork and alcohol might have grounds for constructive dismissal on religious grounds but I’ve yet to see any evidence that this woman had complained AS A MUSLIM, only as a woman. Her religion is irrelevant. The employer changed her conditions; this is no longer the job she accepted and she might well have missed out on another job when she took this one.

    28. The Common Humanist — on 17th June, 2009 at 8:32 pm  

      So PP, nothing going on in Iran then???????

    29. Ravi Naik — on 17th June, 2009 at 9:06 pm  

      So PP, nothing going on in Iran then???????

      What is going on in Iran? ;) I am also puzzled by this omission.

    30. Refresh — on 17th June, 2009 at 9:15 pm  

      I was thinking a more pressing issue is what has happened to the Romanians in Northern Ireland.

    31. Katy Newton — on 17th June, 2009 at 9:18 pm  

      @26: no, chum, it isn’t like any of those because it is nothing to do with her being a Muslim. It was a gender discrimination case.

    32. Boyo — on 17th June, 2009 at 10:10 pm  

      Bit like accepting a job in a strip club then being shocked - shocked! - to be asked to take off your clothes.

      Ok, not exactly, but it’s symptomatic of a depressing national trend to… well, take the piss. Muslim has got nothing to do with it - it’s the new British disease - whining about “hurt feelings”.

    33. Amrit — on 17th June, 2009 at 10:48 pm  

      Bit like accepting a job in a strip club then being shocked - shocked! - to be asked to take off your clothes.

      Er, no it’s not. Did you not read Shatterface and others’ comments? The employer changed the rules, which gave her every right to make her claim. I had no idea that working at a bar, where serving drinks tends to be paramount, specifically involved wearing a dress… Maybe because it doesn’t.

      I’m sure you’d just be FINE with wearing hotpants or similarly tight clothing to work in a pub or café, then, I take it?

    34. Katy Newton — on 17th June, 2009 at 11:26 pm  

      Bit like accepting a job in a strip club then being shocked - shocked! - to be asked to take off your clothes.

      You think that any woman who takes a job in a bar should be expected to put on a tight dress to pull in drunken, randy men, do you? Fucking charming. Seems to me there are quite a few blokes on this thread who could do with some sort of Feminism 101 course, frankly.

    35. platinum786 — on 18th June, 2009 at 8:05 am  

      lol…. it’s so blatently obvious that some people have not read any of the comments… they just add their own willy nilly.

      #33

      Bit like accepting a job in a strip club then being shocked - shocked! - to be asked to take off your clothes.

      No, no no no. Take your mind away from tits for a moment. Now think again. She was not hired as a hooker in the bar, she was hired a a waitress. If she refused to serve drinks, that comparison would work. She wasn’t. She was asked to wear a nice little red dress to get try and attract horny old men into the bar. That is sexual discrimination.

      Now for Latrinus…

      #26

      Why on Earth was she working in such a place? What, in general, did she expect? Why, if she is a Muslim, was she serving alcohol?

      Because she is obviously not very religious. Hence she doesn’t really care too much for the god stuff. She was happy to serve drinks in her current uniform. She was not happy to serve it in the proposed new uniform. She felt the new uniform was too sexually alluring, and felt exploited, hence her case was based on sexual/gender discrimination.

      It’s like the Muslim girl who wanted to wear a haedscarf while working at a ladies hairdresser.

      Your right it was kind of like that. The demands on her were unreasonable too. Would you expect a mechanic to show you that his car works perfectly fine before he fixed yours? Would you visit a plumber to check his boiler was working okay, before he fitted yours? Or would you hire those individuals based on the accreditation they had earned?

      Its like the Muslim cook cooking for non-muslims who decides he doesn’t want to handle pork.

      Another excellent example of pulling the carpet out from underneath someones feet. This guy was not hired as a cook. He was given cooking as part of his duties to avoid redundancy. It was also agreed that he wouldn’t have to handle pork. They turned their back on that agreement.

      You’d have put up an excellent arguement had you got a hold of the right end of the stick.

    36. Boyo — on 18th June, 2009 at 8:23 am  

      Heh. Maybe you should have read the rest of my comment - ie, “not exactly” -although have you seen a picture of the dress she was expected to wear? It is hardly revealing, and certainly less than her Facebook pic.

      I always wear hotpants personally - picture me, picture Bruno.

    37. Boyo — on 18th June, 2009 at 8:27 am  

      Here we go - Daily Mail, via my favourite source for everything Islamophobic - Islamophobiawatch

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1193520/ALLISON-PEARSON-No-madam-burkha-offended-MY-values.html

    38. munir — on 18th June, 2009 at 8:56 am  

      The only people pushing the Muslim angle are the Islamophobic gutter press

      British not racist

      “Munir,

      “There is no such thing as an “islamophobe””

      Yes there is-you are a case in point- someone who hates Muslims is an Islamophobe

      “any more than there is a
      “naziophobe” or a “pedophileophobe””

      But there IS, knuckle dragger, such thing as a Nazi phobe and pedophileophobe; people who hate Nazis and pedophles respectively.

      Being a pedophile is against the law as is being a Nazi where racist hatred is made manifest. Your equating being a Muslim with being a criminal is fascinating. Sounds like you want to make it against the law to be a Muslim. Do you?

      “This woman is merely another example of muslims making themselves unemployable & an incentive for employers not to adverise jobs.”

      Fascinating that 2 million people would be judged by one or a handful of people! Likewise David Copeland and the abuser of Baby P is white working class males making themselves unemployable

      Her being a Muslim is an irrelevancy except to Islamophobes- she’s working in a bar for God’s sake!

      Adverise? Learn to spell retard

      “Small wonder so many muslims are on the dole”

      Never been on the dole in my life mate nor accepted any state benefits

      Er.. but here was a working Muslim woman extremely western … and you STILL dont support her.. because she’s Muslim

      So much for the “if we assimiliate theyll accept us” argument

    39. platinum786 — on 18th June, 2009 at 9:01 am  

      What she wears in her own private life, is not relevant to what she wears at work. Maybe when that picture was taken she wanted to show off her assets, but doesn’t feel it’s right to do so every day at work.

      Simple fact is, religion aside, a woman won a court case where her boss decided to change the uniform for women in is company to a dress which she considered to be somewhat revealing and she felt was bought in to try and sexualise her as an individual to attract customers.

      She won that case. The DailyMail article is rubbish and very poorly written. It focuses on religion, which is not relevant, as she did not claim for religious discrimination.

      As for the build up story, a shameless attempt to stir some anti Muslim feeling to try and sell the rest of the BS in the story. If a person does not have money to buy a ticket and wants to board a train/bus, and the guard stops them, it is the jobs guard to ensure that person does not board the train/bus without a ticket.

      What has religion got to do with it? Did that women say god ordered her to catch the train and that the guard would be stopping her religious duties? No. The guard did not do his/her job properly. If the situation had been that someone at flashed him some flesh and he had let them go, would the story have been used to start the article? I doubt it.

      You’ve got to pretty dim to fall for poor journalism for that, simply because it plays on the emotions/thoughts you carry around with you.

    40. Amrit — on 18th June, 2009 at 9:36 am  

      Not meaning to sound patronising to anyone, but when someone uses a Mail article - a fuckin’ MAIL ARTICLE - as a source for Islamophobia, it’s like finding out the Pope is Catholic, etc.

      platinum has it exactly right above. The Daily Mail, being that bastion of nobility that it is, always goes for the easiest target. You can imagine them rubbing their hands together, going ‘Which angle of this should we work - the woman or the Muslim part? Hmmm, well the Muslim part’s not really relevant… MAKE IT THE MUSLIM PART!’

      There should be a ‘Don’t get mad, get even’ style-initiative allowing Muslims to strike back over their continual misrepresentation in the Mail (and Express). It sure as hell isn’t any legitimate criticism of religion, it’s just attacks on members of society who are, in most cases, just trying to fit in.

      http://dontgetmad-getaccurate.blogspot.com/

    41. Ravi Naik — on 18th June, 2009 at 9:56 am  

      I feel somewhat uncomfortable about some aspects of this story.

      Yes, I think it is perfectly reasonable that she would object wearing a red dress when previously she had to use black trousers. Since the rules were changed after being hired, she would have the right to terminate her contract, and get some form of compensation over lost wages, etc. And if the boss didn’t want to pay, then she would take them to court (as she did) for that. I do believe she had every right to terminate her contract.

      However, I find it rather disingenuous that she initially asked for £17,500 for emotional damages, which was ruled “manifestly absurd”, but she got £3000 instead (+ wages). Like Rumbold, I do not understand why. She only worked for that bar for 8 days. She also mentioned that she was Muslim, and that her upbringing dictated that she dressed conservatively.

      To be fair, my feeling is that the whole case was amplified by her lawyer, who decided to get as much money as he could by playing the Muslim card, and overplaying the emotional card. Not sure justice was made.

    42. Rumbold — on 18th June, 2009 at 9:59 am  

      Thanks for the clarification Katy and others.

      Ravi- it was interesting that they considered that the case was so badly presented by her solicitor that they reduced her award.

    43. Ravi Naik — on 18th June, 2009 at 10:10 am  

      That article from the Daily Mail that Boyo has linked is just disgraceful. File it under “Muslims and other ethnics have it so easy”.

    44. The Common Humanist — on 18th June, 2009 at 11:08 am  

      So, Iran then……

      Still nothing?

      This is like MPAC and Press TV……eithger silence or working for the religious fascists.

      A peoples uprising for a fair democratic system and PP is talking about an employment tribunal decision???

      The BNP stuff is vitally important but have any of you guys seen the news in the last week????

    45. justforfun — on 18th June, 2009 at 11:48 am  

      A peoples uprising for a fair democratic system..

      .. hardly.

      More like two prison gangs rioting over which gang should be sitting on the higher seats in the exercise yard. The prison governor is just waiting to see who comes out on top and how he needs to deploy his guards and which gang will allow him to keep his prison intact for longer. The other prisoners just wish they were not in a jail and are keeping their heads down.

      Anyway Obama has said he will not takes sides - so how can we know what to say?

      Seriously now - If Sri Lankan Tamil politics is Byzantine in its nature , the Iranian psyche and politics are just as confusing, so no wonder people think twice about passing comment.

      justforfun

    46. Boyo — on 18th June, 2009 at 12:18 pm  

      “Maybe when that picture was taken she wanted to show off her assets”.

      To the world - on Facebook.

      Don’t blame me for the Mail article - I spotted it on IW and thought the picture illustrative. I agree the article is pathetic.

      On the other hand given the visual evidence, and the fact she used her Muslim identity as a lever (absurd when she was working in a bar), I think this is a straightforward case of taking the p***

    47. Dress employment ruling | Pickled Politics « Employment Blog — on 18th June, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

      [...] See the original post:  Dress employment ruling | Pickled Politics [...]

    48. SLartius — on 18th June, 2009 at 7:35 pm  

      @platinum786

      39

      “What she wears in her own private life, is not relevant to what she wears at work. Maybe when that picture was taken she wanted to show off her assets, but doesn’t feel it’s right to do so every day at work.”

      I call that hypocritical of her. Are you suggesting she only ever wore dresses (wanted to show off her assets, as you so neatly put it) like that in the privacy of her own home with no one but her nearest and dearest to see?

      35

      I say again: what did she expect working at such a place?

      Why can’t the owner employ people he thinks will help attract customers and please them? That is a fairly standard business practice. What’s wrong with that?

      Your comparisons regarding the headscarf are silly.

      Regarding the cook, I still have no sympathy for him.

      In going back on the deal, if that is what happened, the employer must have realised they had offered something impractical and were just pandering to his Muslim sensibilities. Unfortunately, the guy was indeed redundant. It’s a shame he didn’t recognise the effort his employer was making.

    49. Don — on 18th June, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

      Why can’t the owner employ people he thinks will help attract customers and please them?

      He can. He just can’t change the agreed terms after employing somebody. How difficult is that to understand?

    50. SLartius — on 18th June, 2009 at 8:37 pm  

      @Don

      Could you please qoute the agreed terms that you say the employer broke or supply a suitable reference in this case?

      According to this blog she won her case on gender discrimination grounds not for breech of agreement.

    51. cjcjc — on 19th June, 2009 at 10:12 am  

      But the red dress in the photo isn’t at all “revealing” is it?
      It’s a perfectly normal smart cocktail dress, or am I missing something?



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