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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 14:22 GMT
Man wins tie sex ruling
The draconian application of the dress code in Jobcentre Plus is discriminatory
Matthew Thompson
A civil servant who complained about being made to wear a collar and tie to work has won a sex discrimination case.

Matthew Thompson, 32, said it was unfair he had to dress formally to work at the Jobcentre Plus, in Stockport, Greater Manchester, when women did not.

He had told the Manchester tribunal that women were allowed to wear T-shirts - and even football shirts - without facing disciplinary action from managers.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which backed the case, said it planned a further 39 cases if a "sensible solution" was not now agreed with managers.

The administrative assistant said he was delighted and relieved with the tribunal's decision.

He added: "The ruling vindicates what we have been arguing for some time, that the draconian application of the dress code in Jobcentre Plus is discriminatory.

Injured feelings

"I'm now looking forward to resolving the issue with management and getting on with my job."

HAVE YOUR SAY
A great victory for common sense
Bob, UK

He had told last month's hearing he deserved compensation for injured feelings and claimed that his human rights had been breached.

He added: "It is discriminating against me as a man to accept a standard not expected of a woman."

Sensible solution

The tribunal had been told that Jobcentre Plus workers could be fined up to 10% of their salary as well as be sacked, for refusing to conform to the dress code.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said on Tuesday the dress code was clearly discriminatory and should never have been introduced in the first place.

We continue to believe that the dress standard is entirely reasonable
Department of Work and Pensions

He added: "Even though the ruling paves the way for us to bring similar cases, we will look to sit down with management to hammer out a sensible solution.

"However, if this consensus approach fails we will not hesitate to pursue further cases on behalf of our members."

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We continue to believe that the dress standard is entirely reasonable and we shall give immediate consideration to this judgment with a view to lodging an appeal against this decision.

"In the meantime, we are asking our staff to continue to dress in a professional and business-like way."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Evan Davies
"He got a dressing down, for dressing down"



SEE ALSO:
Sex row over tie rule
24 Feb 03 |  England
Dress protest worker wears kilt
29 Oct 02 |  England
R.I.P. Dressing Down
15 Mar 02 |  UK News


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