A Muslim cocktail waitress has won damages after refusing to wear a skimpy uniform.
Fata Lemes resigned from her job at the Rocket Bar in Mayfair when she was asked to wear a red dress which she claimed made her look like a prostitute. She later took the bar’s owners, restaurant group Spring & Greene, to a tribunal, winning £2,919.95 in compensation for hurt feelings and loss of earnings.
Lemes claimed £20,000, including £17,500 for hurt feelings, but a panel at Central London Employment Tribunal found that she had overstated the trauma caused by being asked to wear the sleeveless dress. They also rejected her claims that she was left with no choice but to resign, but concluded that her employers’ insistence that she wear the dress amounted to sexual harassment.
The tribunal stated: “The effect of requiring her to wear the dress was to violate her dignity. It created an environment for her that was degrading, humiliating and offensive.”
A Bosnian Muslim, Lemes claimed to have been pestered for sex by customers at the bar. She had previously worn a black top and trousers to work and said: “I was brought up a Muslim and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes.”
According to Spring & Greene’s lawyers, a photo of Lemes wearing a revealing top has appeared on social networking site Facebook, but it is not known whether the tribunal panel saw this before making their decision.