A Brisbane barber shop that could face a sex discrimination claim for refusing to cut a woman’s hair says it is fighting to change lease conditions it blames for turning her away.
Vivien Houston went to Jimmy Rod’s Barbershop at The Gap Village Shopping Centre on Friday, but says she was refused service because she’s a woman.
Ms Houston says she was floored and is now pursuing a sexual discrimination claim.
‘I went to sit down and one of the barbers at the shop, who has cut my hair previously, stopped me,’ Ms Houston has told ABC radio.
Vivien Huston was refused service at Jimmy Rod’s Barbershop in Brisbane because she is a woman. She is now pursuing a discrimination claim
Jimmy Rod’s in Queensland said their lease was the reason they refused Ms Huston service
‘I thought she was going to say they had too many people waiting in line and wouldn’t be able to fit me in before closing. But she actually said ‘I can’t serve you because you’re a woman’.’
The barber shop chain says it’s not to blame and new lease conditions imposed by centre management mean the outlet is subject to non-compete clauses aimed at protecting the trade of ladies’ hairdressers in the complex.
Discussions with lawyers are now underway in a bid to change those clauses, Jimmy Rod’s managing director James O’Brien says.
‘The Gap is the only store where we have that restraint on trade … because there’s three independent lady hairdressers there,’ he’s told the ABC, adding women were regular clients at the chain’s other stores.
Jimmy Rod’s managing director, James O’Brien, said they were in discussion with lawyers to see if they could get the rules prohibiting them from serving female customers changed
Jimmy Rod’s managing director James O’Brien said they were now discussing with the lawyers if the rules could be changed
‘We’ve been in touch with their lawyers about amending the lease. This will be resolved hopefully by the end of today.’
The case has stunned the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, with president Michael Cope saying it appeared to a black-and-white case of sexual discrimination.
‘You can’t refuse to provide a service on the basis of sex,’ he said.
Ms Houston said she chose to use a barber because of her short hair, and the fact she feels more comfortable in a barber shop environment.
‘I guess I felt really upset that I was being discriminated against.’