Perth nightclub Amplifier Capitol drawing national attention for “sexist” uniform policy claims

Perth nightclub Amplifier Capitol drawing national attention for “sexist” uniform policy claims

UNION United Voice has stated that sexual harassment is “rampant” in hospitality and that women who work in the industry are targeted by “creeps” after a sexist uniform policy at Perth nightclub Amplifier Capitol came to national attention overnight.

The policy was revealed when an employee at Amplifier took to Instagram and posted a photo of the shirt she was expected to wear while working compared to the men’s uniform shirt.

The women’s shirt was low cut and showed off the employee’s cleavage. In comparison, the men’s shirt was cut to the neck.

Screenshots were also posted of conversations in a staff Facebook page between management and employees concerning the uniform policy, which Amplifier Director David Heaton has since apologised for.

“One thing that has slipped for a while, is the tolerance of girls wearing the men’s uniform shirt while on bar – from next week I will be taking your men’s shirt back from you and replacing it with ladies bar uniform shirt – let’s work together to get the dress code back to how it should be,” duty manager Artur Rafal wrote.

Mr Heaton added weight to Mr Rafal’s statement – “As a condition of your employment, the team member is required to wear the uniform. If you don’t feel comfortable in the uniform then you are welcome to find employment elsewhere”.

Overnight the Amplifier backflipped on the policy with Mr Heaton joking that men could wear the women’s shirts too.

“Only joking, women can wear the men’s shirts as long as they are not overly baggy.”

Mr Heaton has since apologised via Facebook for the policy.

He wrote “quite simply, we’re sorry” and the changes were “poor judgement”, showing a “lack of awareness”

“Comments that female staff already face sexual harassment as part of working within the nightclub industry, and that these uniform changes would only exacerbate the issue, have resonated with us,” he wrote.

“It was wrong to comment that any staff uncomfortable with the changes should find employment elsewhere – this was a throwaway comment that I very much regret.

“I would like to make clear that no staff have been, or will be, fired in relation to the uniform issue. I also respect the decisions of those who have departed the venue of their own volition in relation to this matter.”

Read the full statement below.

United Voice – the union for hospitality workers also weighed in on the issue.

WA Secretary Carolyn Smith said an employer does not have the right to expose their workers to sexual harassment and called the Facebook post “dodgy”.

“It’s clear to everyone that sexual harassment is rampant in hospitality and this unacceptable move by management at Amplifier Bar just goes to show how ingrained the issues are,” she said.

“Under what circumstance would women feel comfortable being heckled or on display when they are trying to work.”

Ms Smith said that the management’s reaction was not sincere and showed a lack of respect for staff who raised valid concerns.

She said while United Voice members are happy to hear the police was reversed, “it’s only a band-aid solution to a greater problem in hospitality”.

“The reality is women in hospitality are targeted by creeps of all kinds,” she said.

“Women are there to work and they deserve to go to work without being harassed.

“Amplifier Capitol has crossed a line and it’s time for workers and the community to stand up and fight back against double standards and sexualising women.

“No-one deserves to go to work and feel like they’re on display. You go to work to do your job.”

This morning, the issue had also come to the attention of feminist commentator Clementine Ford.

She encouraged the women involved to call their union.

“If she didn’t want the attention, she shouldn’t have been dressed like that,” Ms Ford wrote on Facebook.

“I hope all the women who work at this sexist dump quit in protest and no women ever choose to work there again.

“Except of course that won’t happen, because women need to work and that’s how sexist management creeps like this get away with this sh*t”.

More than 100 people have since commented on one of Amplifier’s posts expressing their disgust and disappointment.

There were criticisms that they were deleting negative comments about the policy.

One social media user even turned the comments into a meme.