THIRTEEN women working as eyebrow threaders have been taken to court by their former employer over their decision to work for international cosmetics store, the Body Shop.
The women, from Mauritius, Nepal and India, have allegedly broken non-compete terms in contracts by taking up work with the Body Shop, the High Court heard.
Bushra Threading Company Ltd is taking action against the women and is also pursuing The Body Shop (Ireland) Ltd and three other companies.
Bushra Ltd alleges it had a contract with the women stipulating they could not work for any competitor within a kilometre of any Bushra Ltd premises and could not work for The Body Shop for six months after leaving the company.
The women had been employed to thread eyebrows, a form of hair removal using cotton thread practiced in parts of Asian and the middle-east. It has become a popular alternative to other hair removal methods in western countries.
In an affidavit, one of the women, Netra Laxmi Oli, says she began working for Bushra Ltd and signed a contract in November 2011.
The mother-of-two, originally from Nepal, said her standard of reading and writing in English was poor and her husband generally took care of anything that involved reading or writing.
She said she and her husband were only given a short time to look at her contract of employment and did not understand it.
She claimed she was not advised that the contract would prevent her from working elsewhere. And when her husband sought a copy of the contract it was refused.
While the work was based in The Body Shop outlet in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Dublin, she was employed by Bushra Ltd.
In March this year, she realised business was not going well as Bushra Ltd was unable to provide work for many of its employees.
She said she heard there might be work available with The Body Shop itself and spoke to her employer, Ms Bushra Shaik, about it. Ms Shaik allegedly advised her to take the job.
She signed a contract with the Body Shop Liffey Valley on April 2. She said she was very surprised the court action was being brought as she had been told personally “there would be no problem” if she went to work for The Body Shop.
Bushra Ltd denies the claims.
In court today, Bushra Ltd said it was seeking an injunction to restrain the women from working. Counsel told Mr Justice Kevin Feeney the matter had some urgency. He said he would file further documents by next Monday morning.
The Judge adjourned the case to next week.