Saturday 20 July 2019

'Blatant sexism' - Australian nightclub criticised for telling female staff to wear low-cut tops

Amplifier Capitol nightclub
Photo: Google Maps
Amplifier Capitol nightclub Photo: Google Maps

Maya Oppenheim

A nightclub in Australia has been widely criticised after telling female employees who do not wear a low-cut and tight-fitting uniform to find a new job.

Amplifier Capitol, a club in the western Australian city of Perth, faced condemnation after screenshots from the club’s personal Facebook group were leaked.

They showed a post from duty manager Artur Rafal reminding employees of the dress code.

“To our amazing bar ladies, as we have been busy raising the dress code on our doors, our focus is now shifting to bars – one thing that has slipped for a while is the tolerance of girls wearing the men’s uniform shirt while on bar,” he wrote.

“From next week I will be taking your men’s shirt back from you and replacing it with the ladies bar uniform shirt. Let’s work together to get the dress code back to how it should be. This is compulsory.”

David Heaton, Amplifier owner and Capitol Corp director, followed up the post with his own warning.

“As a condition of your employment, the team member is required to wear the uniform. If you don’t feel comfortable in the uniform then you are welcome to find employment elsewhere,” he wrote.

Employees immediately hit back at being asked to wear a shirt with a much lower neckline – with one taking to the same staff group to raise their concerns.

“Forcing our female staff members to wear low cut shirts that expose their cleavage while male staff members are not subject to such objectification is blatant sexism and totally ludicrous,” the staff member said.

“We receive enough sexual harassment as it is working in the nightclub industry and pushing such a ridiculous dress code puts your female employees in danger.

“Surely there are alternatives to a more presentable uniform standard that doesn’t involve using our bodies as selling points,” the employee added.

The nightclub has now been forced to backtrack and apologise.

Mr Heaton said female staff members would now be given the choice of shirts.

“We will in future, ensure that employees can choose to wear two styles of shirts, provided that those shirts can’t catch on things,” he said.

Mr Heaton, who said nobody had been sacked over the saga, released a public statement on Facebook on behalf of the venue on Tuesday.

“I unreservedly apologise for the recent proposed … uniform changes at Amplifier Capitol – for the decision, my comments and the manner in which this has been handled,” Mr Heaton said.

“The team at Amplifier Capitol and I have been taking stock and reading the various comments and concerns from patrons and staff before publicly responding to the issue."

He described his statement that employees who were not happy with the changes could find employment elsewhere as a ”throwaway comment that I very much regret“.

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