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Women, hosiery and sexual harassment

High Heels and Cuban heal Here in the UK there is a growing band of women who try to earn a few bob by going to courts claiming sexual discrimination as far as their work wear is concerned. A case recently involved Eurostar workers who protested at being told that they must wear skirts as opposed to trousers. They won.

Female Connex workers complained that there blouses were too transparent and their bras could be seen underneath. They too won.

Now, will there come a time soon when women will complain that they have to wear hosiery with their uniforms and the required colour by a company to compliment the outfit (ie, for instance sheer tans) may draw unwanted attention from males?

– I believe, is a resounding “yes”. Here in the US women (and men) will sue for any reason whatsoever. The goal in most cases is financial recovery. The merits of the case being advanced are of little or no consequence. I was involved in a case a few years ago where a female hair stylist sued her employer for having to wear high heels on the job. I’m not talking about 4″ or even 3″ heels. The requirement was simply “high heels.” It seems the beauty shop owner simply wanted to create an impression of elegance and class and thought having the beauticians in heels would add to the atmosphere.

The hair stylist knew the requirement prior to taking the job and took the job anyway. Later, she claimed to have suffered leg strains and other related pains that made prolonged standing and even sex with her husband impossible. Her husband also sued for loss of services. This case was the purest folly and the jurors later said they were prepared to find the shop owner innocent. But, as the Plaintiffs’ hoped, the jury never got to decide. The case was settled by the insurance company for about $50,000 for the hair stylist and about $13,000 for the husband.

Incidentally, the husband said he had formerly enjoyed sexual favours from his wife about five times a week. He claimed to have lost these favours for about a year (evidently he wasn’t creative enough to figure out any alternative methods of having sex) and he further claimed that it would be at least another year before she would once again have the ability to perform her wifely duties. I believe he was seeking $1,000,000 on his portion of the claim. Based upon his claim, I remember calculating the value of having sex with this woman at a little less than $10,000 per orgasm (assuming at least one per session.) Now she was very attractive, but $10,000 per encounter? Not even with 10 denier Cuban heels my friend! As it turned out he accepted $13,000. This worked out to a paltry $125 per throw or about the price of an hour’s time of a second class call girl here in the States. After attorney’s fees the husband and wife ended up with about $40,000.

Another interesting aspect of this case was the style of dress of the Plaintiff in court. The jury was all male. While the testimony involved her physical pain she was dressed very conservatively. Dark clothes, long dresses, blonde hair tied back in a bun. While the testimony was to her husband’s loss of her services, she wore tight short skirts and her hair down.

It later came out that the beauty shop owner was the mother of the hair stylist (they had different last names.) The insurance company made a lot of noise about re-opening the case (fraud, etc) but it never happened.

You see it all comes down to money. Anybody can sue for anything. Here they’re called nuisance suits. The plaintiffs hope the insurer will cough up enough cash before the jury gets the question that the jury is prevented from exposing these people for the extortionists they really are.

– It wouldn’t surprise me at all. With the decline of dresses/skirts – and hosiery of any kind – society has ‘gotten used’ to not seeing women’s legs, creating possible environments where there could be more glancing and gawking. And with women ‘not used to’ being glanced at – because they usually don’t wear skirts/hosiery (let alone the nude sheer variety) – they’re more likely to get hackles up. Add in our litigious anti-harassment environment… I’m waiting for the first news story!

– Software star, Siebel, requires its female employees to dress “conservatively” when meeting customers. Its suggested dress includes hosiery. Siebel’s male employees are required to be attired in conservative business suits, white shirts, and conservative ties when meeting with clients.

Siebel’s ability to attract top technical talent without paying huge “search fees” makes it the envy of it’s high tech competitors.

As a former employee of “Big Blue” I appreciate the impact of “proper uniform” when building credibility. When younger, dark suits provided me ability to achieve “equal business stature” when I interfaced with older clients.

Siebel’s success, and the financial success of its female employees, is just one more example of missed opportunities by modern femmes that “want more”, but ignore the power they possess by not showcasing their charms in proper attire.

– You know, it would almost be funny if it weren’t so true! It’s almost as if women are returning to the days when showing a bit of leg was considered unladylike, or that it is an unspoken yes to accept less than above board behaviour.

If you think about it, the less women wear stockings and skirts, the more men are going to gawk and stare. If every woman wore a skirt, sooner or later the novelty would wear off (no pun intended!) Men look at my legs every day… I’m not trying to sound pompous, but FFs do attract attention – and I love it! Does that mean that I should put up with crass comments or innuendo? No, I don’t think so.

And as for ladies suing so as not to wear blouses that are sheer – haven’t they ever heard of a camisole? That’s just foolishness.

Here’s a quote I think does the best at summing this issue up – no one can take advantage of you without your permission!

– In my line of work I have to meet insurance company reps from time to time. Until a couple of years ago I was called on by a tall female who explained to me that her company required their female consultants to wear skirts & not bear legs. She said she had to wear stockings or tights. Occasionally I got a glimpse of her lace tops! The company was Scottish Widows.

– Another recent court case I read about was a woman who took her company to a tribunal because she wanted to wear trousers and not skirts and she was offended because her boss told her that she would look better wearing a short skirt as she had nice legs.

She won the case and proves a point that in some quarters as far as work attire is concerned, skirts and hosiery have had their day!

I read two weeks ago that the female employees of a Spanish Rail company went to court to change the companies rules about wearing skirts and not trousers. The staff had to wear skirts that were two inches above the knee, they wanted to be able to wear trousers. They lost.

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