A London-based recruitment firm Matching Models hit the news after posting sexist and offensive job adverts.
The temp agency was widely criticised for listing “brown long hair with b-c cup” in the requirements for a job working as a PA / flight attendant for a private plane and placing a job listing for a “sexy driver”.
The requirement stipulated by Matching Models that female candidates must be attractive in their job descriptions has prompted outrage in the press, but is it illegal?
On the face of it, Matching Models advertorial falls foul of the Equality Act 2010. Whilst employers are entitled to seek candidates which have an appropriate level of presentation, in the same way employers can require a certain standard of dress and tidy appearance, their advertisement appears to discriminate on the basis of gender, by seeking to recruit female candidates only and with reference to bra size, without there being any basis for which they could justify these specific requirements.
If they are recruiting for lingerie models, then possibly seeking a certain bra size might be appropriate i.e. a brand advertising lingerie for fuller figured women, for example, might want to demonstrate that in their advertisements, but there is no occupational requirement that I can think of for a PA to have a B-cup bra size. This is discriminatory, both towards men who cannot apply and of women, because of something intrinsically connected to their sex.
Job advertisements which are specifically directed at men or women are not lawful, unless there is a genuine occupational requirement for this (e.g. a male actor sought for a male role in a play). Adverts that suggest the employer will discriminate when recruiting may give rise to legal action by an unsuccessful applicant or a person who was deterred from applying by the discriminatory advert. The Equality and Human Rights Commission can also investigate discriminatory adverts and even take action in the County Court for a declaration or an injunction in relation to that employer’s actions even if no actual "victim" can be identified.
If you have suffered gender discrimination at work, contact the work discrimination solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.
Josephine Van Lierop is an associate employment solicitor with Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.
What do you think about the job adverts posted by Matching Models? Let us know in the comment section below.