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To think this is bullying?

(24 Posts)
CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:01:06

Asking on behalf of a friend.

This friend is female, she's gay and prefers to dress more 'masculine'.

She has started a new job and asked for a men's uniform to be ordered, just the top as they wear their own trousers anyway. The manager ordered her a females instead.

Thought this was a mistake and asked for it to be changed a) as she's not comfortable wearing female fitted tops and b) it's the wrong size anyway and dosnt fit. Manager has refused.

Friend was telling me this story and worrying what to do about uniform. Would you say this is bullying regarding her choice to not wear feminine clothing? It dosnt sit right with me at all.

WingsofNylon Thu 17-Aug-17 19:04:38

That is pretty bad but i wouldnt call it bullyibg. Can she not order one herself?

KimmySchmidt1 Thu 17-Aug-17 19:06:52

It is bullying and it is also employment discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation. i mean formal discrimination under legislation designed to protect employees, not just in the general sense.

AlmostAJillSandwich Thu 17-Aug-17 19:07:46

Can she not order the female version a size too big so its not so fitted?
If she was transgender she would have a right to ask for the male uniform, but i dont think being a lesbian and simply prefering the male shirt is a right in the same way.

Pengggwn Thu 17-Aug-17 19:08:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Papafran Thu 17-Aug-17 19:09:16

I think the employer will need to justify why men and women need to wear different uniforms. Also, if the top does not fit her, she will need a larger one. Is there any way she can get around it by ordering it herself or getting a spare one off a male colleague? Or maybe order the largest female size available so that it is baggy on her.
Certainly with things like shoes, employers have struggled to prove that there is a need to discriminate between men and women. I can't see why it should be different for tops.

Pengggwn Thu 17-Aug-17 19:09:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

x2boys Thu 17-Aug-17 19:12:51

Is there a union ? They would be able to help ,my old union rep would have been on this straight away ,they would know the rights and wrongs of situations like this.

Pengggwn Thu 17-Aug-17 19:13:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Papafran Thu 17-Aug-17 19:14:29

From ACAS:

An employer's dress code must not be discriminatory in respect of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 for age, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Dress codes must apply to both men and women equally, although they may have different requirements

Employers may have a policy that sets out a reasonable standard of dress and appearance for their organisation. Any dress code should be non-discriminatory and should apply to both men and women equally. Standards can be different, for example a policy may state "business dress" for women but may state for men "must wear a tie"

Although staff can be dismissed for failing to comply with a dress code, employers should be cautious when operating a dress code in this way. Any dress code should not be stricter, or lead to a detriment, for one gender over the other. It has been reported that wearing high heels can cause physical pain and even harm, and therefore may lead to a successful claim of direct discrimination on grounds of sex

Basically, I don't think it is clear cut. It may be easiest for her to just get the largest female top available so that it is not fitted.

CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:14:56

The manager when she explained it dosnt fit asked what size she is. She said she dosnt know as she's never worn female clothing, which is true. Asked for a men's medium no idea how that translates to women's sizes. He said no he won't order the men's.

She can't order herself it has to come from the manager. There is no difference in the tops except the female one is fitted at the waist which she dosnt want.

There is a long history of abuse for my friend and she has hidden her female shaped body since, not that the manager knows that just explains why she's uncomfortable with a fitted top.

CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:15:43

Oh and it's a small retail store.

x2boys Thu 17-Aug-17 19:15:58

I don't know but she was gay herself so she would have known wether it was discrimination, my point was union's generally know more about these kinds of sitnations.

Papafran Thu 17-Aug-17 19:20:38

If I were her, I would ask for an XL female in that case. Are you able to give her some advice- i.e. what size do you think she is and what top would be big enough to be loose on her?
Sorry to hear about her past abuse.

CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:23:43

The female ones are in sizes 10, 12 etc. Manager has ordered her a 10 which is way too small. I'm a 14 and she's around my size looking at her. How much bigger would she need to go to have it loose and not show a defined waist? Don't see why it's been such an issue. Why not have unisex tops and avoid all this, it's only a tshirt! I work in the NHS where all trousers and tunics are unisex and women have the option of a dress if they want it. So much easier!

CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:27:52

Also could the manager stop her wearing a top big size? As she's started the job before the uniform arrived she's been wearing a male size large borrowed from a colleague. She said she would keep wearing that as her uniform dosnt fit and the manager complained it's so big it looks ridiculous and he dosnt want her looking "scruffy". I wonder if he will have the same problem if she wears an oversized female top. She's worried about coming across as awkward at her new job but also worried about wearing fitted clothing.

Papafran Thu 17-Aug-17 19:27:53

I agree! Stupid to have different uniforms. I reckon an 18 or a 20 would be baggy enough not to fit at the waist. She could always go into Next and try on one of their fitted shirts in that size or something just to check.

Milliemoo37 Thu 17-Aug-17 19:29:08

I'd be disgusted with the manager. I am manager of a retail store and if she was my employee, I'd order what she wanted as I'd rather her be comfortable.

If I was your friend, I'd be having a discussion with the manager explain that I would not be wearing the uniform as it does not fit and she cannot physically wear it.

I ordered myself a males shirt as the female ones were fitted at the waist and too short for me.

Papafran Thu 17-Aug-17 19:32:20

I am not sure, because it doesn't 'obviously' relate to discrimination, because not all gay women dress in a masculine way and employers are allowed to require men and women to wear different things. It's not the same as forcing women to wear high heels because high heels have been proven to cause health problems whereas fitted shirts have not. I think he could legitimately say that he needs staff to look smart and the difficulty is that if she complains too much, she may be out of a job.

If I were her, I would try the larger size female shirt to see if she can get away with that. Fitted shirts generally look smarter than T-shirts, so her boss may not have a problem with it.

CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:33:57

Thanks I will suggest to her ordering an 18, after trying it on in a store, and see what the manager says to that. Thanks for your help.

CatchingBabies Thu 17-Aug-17 19:35:51

She hasn't complained at all, she's accepted the too small tops after he refused to change them and hasn't said anything. She only mentioned it in the first place as she thought it was a mistake. She asked for a men's size medium he said ok and then ordered her a woman's size 10.

Papafran Thu 17-Aug-17 19:39:18

Oh yes, I didn't mean it negatively towards your friend- i just meant that if she refuses to wear the shirt, it could cause issues.
The boss sounds like he doesn't know anything about women's dress sizes if he ordered her a 10. Hopefully if she gets the 18, he won't want to spend any more money ordering shirts and will just let her wear it.

Pengggwn Thu 17-Aug-17 20:32:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greendale17 Thu 17-Aug-17 20:34:54

A big baggy shirt does look scruffy

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