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to think it's wrong to criticise an employee for not wearing make-up/being overweight?

(55 Posts)
missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:19:07

My friend has just been called into a meeting with her employer today, where she was basically told she is fat and ugly and should do something about her weight and should also wear make-up to "look pretty for the customers".

I am just flabberghasted. This is a part time minimum wage job in retail. What the actual fuck???? AIBU to be fuming on behalf of my friend. Yes, she is very very overweight, but that is none of their business as long as she can do her job.

Joules68 Mon 03-Mar-14 18:19:56

Which shop?

Anonymai Mon 03-Mar-14 18:20:34

Well, was she actually told that or was she told to smarten up for a customer facing role?

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:21:00

small local shop, a deli with a little cafe attached.

WorraLiberty Mon 03-Mar-14 18:21:06

Yes which shop?

specialsubject Mon 03-Mar-14 18:21:18

(Falls off chair)

unless her job description specifies size (like air cabin crew jobs do) and make up (like air cabin crew jobs do) then I am also fuming.

not sure how the airlines get round this, but I don't think female staff can be forced to slap up unless the male staff also have to.

as for her weight - if she can fit behind the till and do her job, it is irrelevant.

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:22:02

She was told she should lose weight and wear make up. Nothing was said about clothes, and she always dresses nice anyway.

DarlingGrace Mon 03-Mar-14 18:22:24

What was really said?

Mind you Hollister only employ model types, as do airlines and make up counters. None of which are going to be min wage.

Is she turning up unkempt?

WorraLiberty Mon 03-Mar-14 18:22:35

How long has she worked there?

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:23:50

No, she is clean and tidy, but she doesn't wear make up very often. She has worked there for over a year I think. A while.

WorraLiberty Mon 03-Mar-14 18:24:53

So she must have been overweight when they chose to give her the job?

ScrambledeggLDCcakeBOAK Mon 03-Mar-14 18:25:58

DARLING they do but surely they wouldn't hire someone then pull them up they just wouldn't employ the person?

I can smell I a work place harassment suit

AuntieStella Mon 03-Mar-14 18:25:59

If there is a dress code and she is in breach if it, then it is OK for the employer to raise it.

Dress codes have to be carefully written, to ensure there is no direct or indirect sexual discrimination though.

Weight might be relevant if there are health/fitness criteria necessary for the role.

But if neither of these exist (and I would be amazed if they do for the setting and role described), then this is utterly wrong.

BackforGood Mon 03-Mar-14 18:26:26

I'd like to hear the other side of the story, tbh.
When customer facing, there are 'standards' or 'rules' that present the 'corporate image'.
I find it incredibly hard to believe that any employer would be stupid enough to call an employee into a meeting and call them ugly and fat.
You're not gaining sympathy by not stating the facts, IMO.

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:26:48

Yes she was overweight then, although I think she has put on quite a lot of weight since, I don't really pay that much attention because she is my friend and I love her the way she is.

pussycatdoll Mon 03-Mar-14 18:28:00

Oh god so many threads today when I'm going really??

Are you sure they said those words?

Maybe they said 'xxx you need to smarten yourself up' because she wears joggers & a t shirt to work but she told you it was because she's overweight ??

pussycatdoll Mon 03-Mar-14 18:29:15

& do you really expect anyone to reply with yabu??

Yabu for probably not knowing the full story imo

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:31:41

backforgood I can only state the facts as I know them. She feels disempowered to do anything (like complain, or sue or whatever) as most of us on the lower end of the social scale. We aren't entitled to legal aid, we can't afford to lose a job, we have no union support. Employers can pretty much do as they like unless they fire her anyway, in which case she has nothing to lose. But as it is, she feels she cannot do anything except put up with it.

They may not have worded it exactly as "you're fat and ugly", but they might as well have if they are saying she should lose weight and "look pretty for the customers".

PenguinBear Mon 03-Mar-14 18:31:54

That's shocking! What did she say back?!

Grennie Mon 03-Mar-14 18:34:16

Contact ACAS for advice.

themonsteratemyspacebar Mon 03-Mar-14 18:35:27

I believe it as i have had the same happen to me. Well except the overweight comment (even though i am!)
Its horrible and humiliating. I am not or have ever been a wearer of make-up yet my male managers and their mother often made comments and 3 times was called into a meeting to tell me to start wearing it. Even bought me make-up for easter and crimbo presents hmm

Needless to say i ignored it and stated i dont feel the need to hide behind make-up and feel sorry for people that do.

Get your friend to start looking for a new job. The managers will never stop, and your friend doesn't need that superficial shite in her life. I bet she feels mortified.

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:36:09

I have often gone in that shop and she always looks well presented, as much as anyone else who works there. She always has her hair done up nicely, and she is friendly and pleasant. They have to wear practical clothes anyhow as they are working with food, not in the fashion industry.

I bet they would never have asked a bloke to "look pretty for the customers"

DarlingGrace Mon 03-Mar-14 18:36:13

All I asked was if the lady was unkempt.

we have no union support - this annoys me - anyone can join a union - hmmm let me think ...GMB covers shopworkers or USDAW or UNISON or UNITE - you choose to join a union and anyone can phone ACAS or CAB

missymarmite Mon 03-Mar-14 18:39:54

I didn't know that about unions TBH. However, complaining about employers can exacerbate things for many workers, so many, like my friend, are understandably reluctant to complain.

Cleartheclutter Mon 03-Mar-14 18:41:25

They may not have worded it exactly as "you're fat and ugly

It did sound highly unlikely hmm

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