A teen waitress has won a sex discrimination claim against a restaurant after being told to wear a skirt and make-up so she would be “easy on the eye”.
Erin Sandilands was ordered to look more glamorous “for the punters” by a manager at the restaurant she worked in.
After she made a complaint, the 18-year-old student was told her services were no longer required.
She had been on a zero-hours contract but had previously been offered a full-time job.
But now Erin has been awarded £3,500 following an industrial tribunal, for injury to her feelings and lost wages.
The tribunal found she had been exposed to a “degrading and humiliating” working environment.
Erin, of West Kilbride, Ayrshire, said: “I’m delighted with the result of the tribunal. I did not think it would be that successful. I was quite reluctant to go to a tribunal, because I had never done anything like that before.
“I would just like people to know what sort of business they are. It’s not an establishment I’d like other girls to work at.”
Erin began working at Cecchini’s bistro in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, in September last year and was initially told the staff dress code was black trousers or a skirt, and a black shirt.
But a month later her manager took her aside in a narrow hallway and asked she wear a skirt and her hair down, as well as make-up, to make her more attractive to customers.
She asked what difference her appearance made to her duties, pointing out that since she was handling food it made more sense for her hair to be tied back.
Erin did not receive a reply, but was phoned the next day and told she would not be offered more shifts, despite the fact the restaurant was heading into a busy period and had hired a new staff member.
A friend, who also worked there and gave evidence on her behalf, had recently had her hours increased.
Erin said at first she decided to let the matter go, but later changed her mind and launched her legal fight on the advice of her partner’s dad, an employment lawyer.
She said: “When it happened it was completely unnecessary. I was dressed smartly and was wearing the uniform as it had been described to me.
“They said I should wear a skirt and make-up and put my hair up and be more feminine. They said that the punters would like that. I felt utterly humiliated and upset.
“I argued that I was dressed smartly, but the very next day I found out I wouldn’t be getting any more shifts. It made me very angry.”
In her judgement, tribunal judge Claire McManus said she found Erin’s evidence to be “entirely credible”.
And she said the comments made by her manager amounted to discrimination towards Erin because she was female, as he would not have made them to a male employee.
The written judgement also found that his conduct amounted to harassment in a “degrading and humiliating” working environment, and awarded the 18-year-old £2,500 in compensation for the injury to her feelings and £1,060 in lost wages.
Erin is still waiting to be paid, and intends to pursue the case in the Sheriff Court if she does not receive the money due to her.
Anthony Cecchini, owner of the restaurant, said: “The allegations are untrue, and we intend to appeal this decision.”