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Job ad leaves fashion retailer vulnerable to claims

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A major American fashion retailer could soon be hauled in front of an employment tribunal after discriminatory job advertisements for “cool and good-looking” staff were placed around its store.

Retailer Abercrombie and Fitch’s first store in Aberdeen will open later this year. But the elitist wording of its job advertisement is not the first time the brand has been tainted by discrimination.

In August, Abercrombie and Fitch was ordered to pay £9,000 in compensation to Riam Dean after the court ruled she was harassed and unfairly sacked due to having a prosthetic arm. The retailer was routinely criticised for adopting a “look policy” but the new poster campaign seems to have quickly forgotten the court’s punitive actions.

“The advert smacks of being so slavishly adhered to the brand that it doesn’t take into account the legislation,” said Nigel Morgan of social media agency Morgan PR. “There’s nothing to stop the firm having that policy to recruit, but to publish it is inviting litigation and mockery from the media.”

Experts have also warned that existing employees could use the recruitment campaign to reaffirm their own discrimination claims.

“Claimants already pursuing the company for discrimination could arguably point to the strategy as indicative of the company’s lack of any proper or genuine commitment to equal opportunities, which could be instrumental in shifting the burden of proof in tribunal proceedings,” Xpert HR’s Employment Law Editor, Jeya Thiruchelvam told Personnel Today.

Abercrombie and Fitch has denied the accusations, claiming that it “has a strong anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy and is committed to ensuring a diverse workforce and to providing equal employment opportunities to all individuals”.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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