In the recent heatwave that has spread all throughout Europe, everybody has to do what they can to beat the heat and go about their days relatively undisturbed. Some buy desk fans, others indulge in cold treats or bottled water and we all try to dress a bit lighter when facing bright skies and skyrocketing humidity. Despite the heat, most of us will have to contend with our jobs as well as rising temperatures, and combining the desire for liberating summer clothing with a dress code at our place of employment has the potential to cause friction.
In these sweltering summer months, we’ve seen bus drivers in France and schoolboys from Exeter literally skirting dress codes in order to beat the heat. But out in Beverley, East Yorkshire, 22-year-old Kate Hannah had significantly less luck dressing down for the weather. Working as a waitress at the restaurant Bird and Beer, Kate came to work without a hot and restricting bra, and not only did her wardrobe gambit fail, Kate has claimed she was actually fired for it.
Sent home from work, Kate immediately took to Facebook to post a photo of her work attire that day, and expressed what she felt was “unprofessionalism, and blatant lack of respect for my right as a woman to wear whatever makes me personally comfortable”.
According to the 22-year-old, she went bra-less to work earlier this week when her manager’s brother made a sexual comment about her appearance. Rather than reprimand her sibling for the inappropriate words, Kate’s manager sent her home and ordered her not to return unless she wore a bra.
This was said to me in front of three other staff members and customers. Leaving me feeling body shamed and completely shocked that the blame was being put onto me that I had been sexually harassed at work. She called me stupid, silly and over the top when I told her I was upset.
Clearly upset at her treatment, Kate added that “Nobody should EVER feel the need to hide themselves in order to stay away from unwanted sexual comments/behaviour”. On Facebook, Kate’s sentiments have been shared by hundreds of people, with many other women backing the 22-year-old in this workplace dispute.
In response to Kate’s Facebook post and the ensuing online outrage however, Bird and Beer have released a statement reiterating their “duty of care to protect all of our employees from any discrimination or sexual harassment within the work place”. The restaurant also addressed the notion that Kate had been fired from her job.
In response to the recent alleged allegations towards Bird & Beer we wish to make the following statement. We can confirm that no employees have been dismissed from the company regarding these allegations. We have a duty of care to protect all of our employees from any discrimination or sexual harassment within the work place and we take any comments towards our employees very seriously and act upon them immediately in a professional manner.
Kate Hannah has fired back at her employer, saying that she would not be allowed back at work unless she wore a bra, and criticising Bird and Beer’s conduct in responding to a disgruntled employee on Facebook.