YYYOUCH! Employee fired for refusing Brazilian wax claims sex discrimination.


You know, maybe I should have gone with the porta-potty-harassment post that I originally had planned for today. Nah. My analytics tell me that my best-received posts have a common theme: crotch and Brazil. Besides, everyone knows that nothing says Friday like a porta-potty post. Just wait ’til Friday.

So today, after the jump, let’s wax poetic, shall we?

(Ouch, again).

* * *

Dave Jamieson from the Huffington Post reports here about a woman hired at a spa as a “Wax Specialist” who, in this Complaint, alleges that her recent termination was discriminatory.

Ok, seems fairly vanilla so far.

But, you see, friends, it seems that this “Wax Specialist” was required to give and receive a Brazilian wax — in front of her female colleagues — as part of training. She further claims that, when she refused and complained to the spa owner, she was fired.

This is a first for me. Oh, you too? No kidding…

Notwithstanding alleged assurances from the corporate trainer that she should “put in a fresh tampon and take an ibuprofen and you’ll be fine,” (oh, if I had a nickel…) the plaintiff claims that her termination for refusing the big rip-off amounts to sex discrimination in violation of Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. 

Come on, please ask me why. 

Oh, why, you say? Because allegedly the employer did not require that male employees get Brazilian waxes too.

Further, the plaintiff claims that the Brazilian wax requirement amounts to sexual harassment. And that her termination, after she complained, was also retaliatory.

Here’s my prediction: The defendants have the plaintiff by her remaining short hairs The discrimination claims all get dismissed.

    1. Sexual harassment: To have a hostile work environment, there must be some severe or pervasive bad behavior. The plaintiff claims that “mandatory Brazilian wax training was so severe and extreme as to alter the conditions of Plaintiff’s employment.” But, folks, she refused it. So, she was never subjected to the alleged “severe and extreme” treatment. Plus, as far as I know, no court in PA has ever held that a single incident of harassment has created a hostile work environment. So, I can’t imagine that precedent will be set here with a Brazilian waxing.
    2. Sex discrimination: I’m going to assume that men don’t give Brazilian waxes because a woman doesn’t want a man waxing her nether eye. (Straight Chaucer, son!) So, then, what reason would there be for male employees to give or get waxed by male co-workers? None, amirite? And call me sexist, but no man should be subjected to that. Ever. I present to you a NSFW — do not listen to this at work — Exhibit A.
    3. Retaliation: Retaliation requires a protected activity; in this case, a complaint based on a reasonable belief that there is some discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Here, there is not protected activity. The underlying complaint of discrimination in connection with Nos. 1 and 2 above was not reasonably held.

    I can’t wait for your comments below!

    (h/t @RobinSchooling)

    • The Kielich Law Firm

      On the sex discrimination claim, it seems if there is a business reason for women workers to observe a demonstration of a Brazilian wax there should be the same reason for men employees to observe the same demonstration on a male employee so they too can be prepared to provide that service to male clientele.

    • Heather Kinzie

      Eric, I need to thank you for making me chuckle this morning…and wondering if you listened to the entire radio show…cuz it’s strangely amusing as I enjoy the beauty of Alaska and my morning coffee.

      Howard Stern is not my favorite…that’s a lie, I really don’t like his show. But I am uber impressed that you found this to embed in your blog and I am fairly certain I’ll listen to the whole thing.

      While he usually makes me twitch, I figured I could just take a motrin and I’ll be fine…

      • Richard Christy getting a Brazilian wax ranks in my top 10 Stern Show segments since he’s moved to Sirius. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    • jeffhupert

      I saw this case earlier today, and said to myself “Eric will find this and find at least one good “strikeover” line. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
      I think you are right IF male employees at the shop do not get or give Brazillian waxes or their equivalent to men (or to women-we’re assuming “no woman customer would… “.Yes, I believe the last comment was serious, no I’m not suggest that you switch careers for a job at the shop in question. There are those of our gender, (don’t look at me: I’m 64, married and stodgy) who allegedly do wax (or have waxed) all or parts of their scrotums. IF they have male employees who do this for male cusstomers, and those employes do not have to undergo the procedure themselves, she has a (there must be a funnier word to put in here than “point”)

      • If this salon actually employs men to provide Brazilian waxes to other men, then, yes, what’s good for the goose, should be good for the gander. I highly doubt, however, this is the case. I can’t speak for Western PA, but, in Eastern PA where I live, my anecdotal sense is that the neither demand for male Brazilian bikini waxers nor the demand amongst men to have their ass and junk waxed and hairless is particularly high

    • M O

      I am not sure if this has an impact on the discriminatory aspect of this case but I have a family member who took esthetician courses in order to do this type of work (I am amazed at how much money she makes from this but I am NOT giving up my day job) but she told me that in her student contract, prior to signing, when she and her mother met with orientation counselor, they advised her that of this need to be able to practice on other women taking the course and they would have to practice on her. Although she felt uncomfortable with this the counselor explained that once a graduate she had to do perform this service on complete strangers, and she would have to get over her squeamishness during the class. If not she was better off not taking the class. Although a little different than her hair stylist license, she equated it to the same process. Where she had to cut and color her co-students hair the same as they did her, in order to obtain the needed practice. My point, if the woman in this case knew this from the onset why did she bother with the course.

      Also, it’s not clear to me – is she saying that there were men (at least two) taking the waxing course with her who were not subject to practicing on each other?

      • The complain indicates that there were similarly situatated men who were not subjected to the same waxing “requirement.”

    • TaraLee

      Eric I am suprised that in Eastern PA they waxing of men’s nether regions is not popular. Its hugly popular in NYC, and as a straight woman “of a certain level of experience” I can say its something that straight men do more than they would admit.

      • I’m no prude, and a little manscaping I can understand. But full-on Brazilian…I’m skeptical.