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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Sex toys chain wins legal fight
Ann Summers
The chain says recruitment is costing an extra 250,000
Ann Summers, the sex toys and lingerie chain, has won its legal fight against a ban on advertising for workers in job centres.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Newman, quashed the decision to ban the job adverts saying the policy was "irrational and unlawful".

Ann Summers' chief executive Jacqueline Gold said she was "delighted" by the ruling, and called it a "fantastic victory both for Ann Summers and common sense".

A Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) spokesman said the department was "reviewing the judgement decision" and would consider its options.

The DWP had argued that some claimants may be uncomfortable about Ann Summers and that it was right not to advertise jobs connected with "the sex or personal services industry".

But Ann Summers had argued that its stores were not sex shops and that the ban was "unlawful, unfair and illogical".

New policies 'unlawful'

Ann Summers used to use government job centres until their adverts were blocked last year.

Jacqueline Gold, the chief executive of Ann Summers, leaves the High Court
Jacqueline Gold was "delighted" by the verdict
The Surrey-based company said the cost of switching to private recruitment agencies was 250,000 a year.

In November last year, Jobcentre Plus - the organisation which covers job seeking and social security services - issued a new policy statement banning eight types of job adverts, including "the Ann Summers category".

But the judge declared the policy unlawful .

"In my judgment, in reaching its decision the defendant lost sight of its statutory purposes and formulated its policy to ban Ann Summers' advertisements upon a basis which does not stand up to rational scrutiny," the judge said.

"It appears to have paid no regard to the potential benefit which job seekers could obtain by taking up employment with Ann Summers."

'Farce'

Ann Summers' legal challenge followed an unsuccessful lobbying campaign aimed at persuading government officials that it should not be categorised as part of the sex industry.

It invited representatives to visit its headquarters, stores and warehouses, to see what its business involved.

Ann Summers' chief executive Jacqueline Gold had described the advert ban as a "farce".

"You can buy vibrators in Selfridges but they are allowed to advertise in Jobcentres."

But Jobcentre Plus said it believed carrying adverts for the store "could potentially offend or cause embarrassment to a significant number of jobseekers".

It said there was a risk they could be deemed unwilling to consider vacancies and their benefits put in jeopardy.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jenny Scott
"The job centre ban was costing the firm up to 250,000 a year in advertising"



SEE ALSO:
Sex toy chain fights jobs ban
16 May 03  |  Business
'Hotbot' adult poster banned
09 Apr 03  |  Lancashire
Sex sales soar at Ann Summers
09 Jul 02  |  Business
Ann Summers to buy Knickerbox
03 Apr 00  |  Business


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