Dress code

Teen waitress told to wear skirt “for the punters” wins sex discrimination case

Erin Sandilands.

A teenager in Scotland who was let go from her job after complaining about being told by a manager to wear a skirt and makeup won her sex discrimination lawsuit on Tuesday. Erin Sandilands, 18, had been waiting tables at Cecchini’s bistro in Ardrossan, a town in southeast Scotland, when one of her managers, a man, took her aside and told her to look more feminine and “easy on the eye” while on the job.

The manager ordered Sandilands to wear makeup and a skirt “for the punters,” but Sandilands objected and then was unceremoniously dismissed. In court, she argued that when she was hired, the dress code at the restaurant, as it was explained to her, offered women a choice of black pants or a black skirt. “They said I should wear a skirt and makeup and … be more feminine,” Sandilands recalled of the unexpected update to the wardrobe policy. “They said that the punters would like that. I felt utterly humiliated and upset.”

The judge in the case, Claire McManus, ruled that the manager’s conduct met the definition of harassment and sexual discrimination, and that it fostered a “degrading and humiliating” work environment. McManus awarded Sandilands $4,732 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress. After the verdict, Sandilands spoke out. “I’m delighted with the result of the tribunal. I did not think that it would be that successful,” she said. “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.”

The restaurant’s owner denied the charges and vowed to appeal the ruling.

Read the full story at USA Today.


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