Recruitment agency criticised for job ads specifying bra size

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A London recruitment agency has been criticised for advertising jobs only for “attractive women”, including even specifying their bra size.

Matching Models in London describes itself as “an international temp agency for beautiful and talented people”.

The news comes after earlier on this year Nicola Thorp campaigned to ban firms from forcing women to wear high heels at work. Recently, Theresa May was asked to ditch heels at work in light of this campaign, with the aim of promoting equality at work.

The model agency specialises in providing companies and private clients with candidates for jobs including “hospitality staff, receptionists, flight attendants, as well as sales and promotional staff worldwide.”

Job roles on offer include the role of personal assistant that insists candidates have “a classic look, brown long hair with b-c cup”.

In a statement on its website, it says:

“It is almost politically incorrect to request someone to work for you that is both attractive as well as professionally equipped with the right set of skills.

“However, our company understands the importance of having the right people representing your company, because after all, first impressions count.”

Women’s equality campaigners said the ads were “straight out of the 1970s”.

An advert for a £50k role as ‘sexy driver’ on the firm’s website seeks a woman to drive a Porsche for two days a week.

The position, working for “a well known flamboyant aristocratic figure,” says applicants should have a “a bubbly personality and flexible approach” and “classy and immaculate presentation.”

The advert adds that the job is based in the countryside and “a lady with no commitments would seem to match our client expectations.” Legal experts said it could be in breach of the 2010 Equalities Act which made gender specific recruitment adverts illegal.

Talking about the personal assistant advert, Ms Jansen said:

Founder of Matching Models, Nathalie Jansen said she had hired 5,000 people worldwide.

“Our clients are uber-successful with high demands but the rewards are immense. They want the best and are prepared to pay top salaries to make sure their lives and business runs smoothly.

“A lot of clients want their employees to look a certain way as well as having the right qualifications and experience.”

Rachel Farr, lawyer at international law firm Taylor Wessing discusses:

“Any job advert which specifies only women can apply is direct sex discrimination unless it is a genuine occupational requirement of the job.  Any man genuinely looking for work as a personal assistant or driver could apply for these roles and claim sex discrimination if his application was rejected.

 Physical appearance is not of itself a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.  However, a requirement that employees look a certain way may result in complaints of age, race, sex, religion or disability discrimination, and applicants for a job should be assessed according to their professional skills.  A woman’s cup size has no place on her CV unless she is a lingerie model.”

Hannah Robbins, Head of Employment in Birmingham at legal business DWF, says:

“This is reminiscent of the recent furore when a receptionist was asked to wear high heels or leave her job in a City firm. The circumstances in which it is lawful to discriminate when recruiting are extremely limited. Only if there is a genuine occupational requirement for a role to be filled by someone of a particular sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age would this be lawful, such as the requirement for a male actor of a certain race. However, mere preferences on the part of the employer which are not relevant to the work being performed would amount to unlawful discrimination if these were used to exclude or discourage certain applicants who could otherwise perform the role. Such adverts are likely to be discriminatory on the grounds of gender, age or possibly race if a certain hair or eye colour is stipulated and, in this instance, specifying a cup size excludes men from applying at all. Applicants have rights in these situations to pursue claims against a potential employer for losses incurred by being excluded from applying for a role as a result of unlawful discrimination.”

Matching Models clients include MTV, Louis Vuitton, Coca-Cola, the Renault Formula 1 team and Harrods.

 

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