December 28th 2021
A hairdresser was offered £100 by her boss for new clothes after she was told she looked ‘unacceptable’ when she turned up for work.
Lisa Thompson unsuccessfully tried to sue salon owner Luke Daniels for sex discrimination after claiming he’d told her to ‘get a better haircut’ because she looked like ‘a mess.’
A tribunal heard how Mr Daniels spoke to his employee about her appearance while she worked at his salon in Navenby, Lincolnshire in June 2019.
Mr Daniels said Ms Thompson looked ‘untidy’ with unwashed, scraped back hair, no make-up and wearing leggings, a bobbly long black cardigan and flip flops, judges were told.
The company owner handed her £100 to buy herself nice clothes and offered her a free treatment worth £150 to ‘enhance the appearance of her hair’.
Ms Thompson, in her 40s, said she was ‘humiliated’ and tried to sue, claiming she was harassed and discriminated against due to her sex and age.
She alleged Mr Daniels told her that her hair was ‘disgusting’ and her clothes were ‘shabby’, but a judge dismissed her claims.
The tribunal heard Ms Thompson had worked at the Urban Angels salon for 16 months before the incident.
The hairdresser, who had an injured foot at the time, was allegedly pulled to one side by Mr Daniels after she was ‘gossiping’ with a client about her old employer and chewing gum.
She claimed she was wearing make-up, that Mr Daniels ‘yelled’ at her and said her hair was a ‘mess’, and told her ‘you’re not exactly the look of Urban Angels’.
The Nottingham tribunal found Mr Daniels, in his 40s, didn’t make the comments but addressed her appearance in a ‘supportive’ way.
Employment Judge Kimbra Welch said: ‘Mr Daniels’ evidence was that he spoke in a professional way to Ms Thompson to make her aware of his concerns with the image she was presenting by chewing gum, making derogatory comments about other salons and her untidy appearance.
‘He denied saying that her hair was disgusting, her clothing was shabby or that her facial appearance and make up was not appropriate for their business.
‘We accept that Mr Daniels made comments about her appearance, including her hair and behaviour in the salon, and that he gave her £100 to buy work clothes and offered her a free hairdo.
‘Whilst we understand that Ms Thompson was upset by the events on June 12, as no one would want to be told that they were not behaving appropriately, nor that their appearance was at an unacceptable standard, we do not believe that this was linked to her sex or age.’
Ms Thompson was fired after she accessed the salon’s computer system using unauthorised codes while she was on sick leave following the June 12 incident.
She tried to sue LG Daniels Ltd – which trades as Urban Angels – claiming the events on June 12 led to her dismissal, however Judge Welch ruled the sacking was due to her computer breach. She lost all claims.
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