By Calvin Palmer
A Muslim waitress in London has been awarded a £3,000 ($4,886) pay out after being made to wear a revealing red dress for work.
Fata Lemes, 33, quit her job after claiming that the low-cut dress was “disgusting” and made her look like a “prostitute”.
Lemes, a Bosnian Muslim, had told an employment tribunal that she “might as well have been naked” in the dress.
“I was brought up a Muslim and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes,” she said.
However, Lemes’s Facebook page has shown her wearing a low-cut t-shirt that displays not only her cleavage but black bra.
The Central London Employment Tribunal awarded Lemes damages after pointing out that only women — and not male staff — were required to wear the summer uniform at the Rocket Bar in Mayfair, London.
But the tribunal said Lemes’s £20,000 ($32,587) compensation claim — including £17,500 ($28,515) for hurt feelings — was “manifestly absurd”.
Instead they awarded her £2,919.95 ($4,758) for both hurt feelings and loss of earnings.
The ruling said: “Her perception was that wearing the dress would make her feel as if she was on show, as if she was being presented as one of the attractions which the Rocket Bar was offering its customers.
“In our view that perception was legitimate and not unreasonable. It is clearly a garment for a girl or young woman. It is intended to, and does, show the curves of the body.”
Lemes began working at the bar in May last year. A week later she was asked to change into the red dress instead of the loose fitting black linen shirt.
“It was indecent. If you put this dress on you might as well be naked,” she told the tribunal.
“Everything finishes in the middle at the chest. It is open at the front and the back. I did not want men looking at my body.”
Lemes earned £5.52 ($8.99) an hour plus a share of tips. She had been waitressing for 14 years but quit after telling the bar’s manager she could not wear the dress.
Luca Scanu, the bar manager, denied the dress was intended to increase sales and tips from male customers by being “sexually inviting”.
What an interesting concept – hurt feelings. Well done, Miss Lemes. This landmark ruling should see just about every employee in Britain filing a complaint against their employer for hurt feelings but most of them would probably not be able to carry it off with the same degree of aplomb you have shown.
Given your religious beliefs, I find it hard that you would feel comfortable serving alcohol. Would that not be construed as aiding and abetting?
Enjoy your £2,919.95. Go buy yourself a new dress. Just watch out for reporters from The Sun. I have a feeling they are on your case.
[Based on a report by The Times.]