Melanie Stark was a saleswoman at Harrods until she was “driven out” after refusing to wear makeup. Let’s discuss.
Harrods has an involved dress code (though it certainly doesn’t rival UBS’s) that, among other things, mandates that all female employees wear “full makeup at all time”. Well, fine. If Stark chose to work at Harrods, she must comply with these rules. Nobody was forcing her to work there. However, she had worked there a whole five years before being told she needed to follow the code. And therein lies the problem.
The 24-year-old alleges she was sent home twice and was forced to work in the stockroom, as well as told to take a makeup tutorial. Her manager gave her an ultimatum: wear makeup or leave. Harrods briefly backed down, but the issue was indeed brought up again, and Stark decided to resign.
“I was appalled. It was insulting. Basically, it was implying it would be an improvement. I don’t understand how they think it is okay to say that.I know what I look like with makeup. I have used it, though never at work. But I just could not see how, in this day and age, Harrods could take away my right to choose whether to wear it or not. Make up can change your features completely, especially if I was to wear all of what they were asking. I would look like a different person to me. And I never chose to look like that.”
So why the change of heart on Harrods’ end after five years of seemingly not caring whether or not Stark wore makeup? Senior management saw her during a visit to her department, and they were not pleased. They apparently had never seen her in the five years prior. Explained a Harrods spokesperson: “All our staff are subject to a dress code which they sign up to on joining the company, which relates to an overall polished appearance. Our records show that discussions with Melanie Stark concerned a general lack of adherence to the dress code. However, no action was taken and she subsequently decided to leave the business of her own accord with no reference made to dress code.”
Do you think Harrods is in the wrong?
[via The Guardian]