Nurseryman loses claim after showing too much cleavage

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Makbool Javaid, Partner – Simons Muirhead & Burton

September 21, 2021





In the Miss L Lawrence v Bundles of Joy Day Nursery case, a kindergarten teacher lost her sex discrimination complaint after being accused of wearing a dress with too much neckline. Latika Lawrence tried to sue her bosses but failed after an employment tribunal found a male colleague with too many undone shirt buttons would have been similarly reprimanded.

Miss Lawrence, 28, took offense after her manager said her tight dress left “too many breasts exposed”. The court heard that the staff at the Bundles of Joy daycare in Streatham, south London, were required to wear a “conservative” uniform that included a pink polo shirt, black pants and flats.

According to Lawrence, when she started working at the nursery there weren’t any polo shirts available, so she wore a stretchy black dress with a scoop neck. The nursery was ordering polo shirts in batches as it was cheaper and at this point there were none in its size.

In his judgment, Judge Dyal said: “The dress code itself did not discriminate between men and women. The actual uniform was neutral and, in our view, the Respondent would have applied the same standard to deviations from the actual uniform (when employees wear their own clothing), whether male or female. a woman’s. The norm was to dress conservatively and without exhibiting bodily flesh that would be incompatible with conservative dress. “

The court concluded that the case would have been avoided if the employee had received the company uniform.

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