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My mom works(ed) in a spa where she is required to wear a white uniform. Her boss tried to force all his employees to buy more uniforms ($19 each) from him and to have them turn in dirty uniforms on a daily basis to have them cleaned solely through the spa. This would be at an additional $3.50 per uniform. This was not going to be an option but a requirement. My mom tried to talk to him to tell him that she can't afford it. This argument happened in front of many of her coworkers. She made him change the policy to apply only to people that have had complaints on their appearance.

The next day he called her up to his office. When she went he told his secretary to step out for a second. He pretty much threatened my mom by telling her that if she ever defied him in front of the employees again she would be fired. He told her that he was going to be watching everything she did and for the smallest thing she did wrong he was going to fire her. My mom was very sad and humiliated because for more than 3 years she has been one of his best employees. She is going to quit and find another job at a spa closer to home. I don't think that any of the things he did were legal. Starting with trying to force his employees to spend more money for what I believe were totally selfish reasons; and second for threatening my mom. I don't think my mom should move on as if nothing has happened. In the future he might try to do the same thing and no one will stand up to him, and if they do he will threaten them again. But I don't know what her rights are in this situation. - Janet

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com and for looking out for your mother. When I read your note, I immediately thought of Gloria Steinem's article--"I Was a Playboy Bunny," in which she talks about how they would hire these bunnies at a "decent salary" then they would charge them a rental fee for their uniforms, a daily cleaning fee and make them buy new nylons every day. That was written in 1963--and times still haven't changed.

Back to your mom, I am not a legal expert and, therefore, can't say definitively what resources your mother has/doesn't have. From what you have described, however, she should have some resource. However, it doesn't seem like she would want to stay and work there anyway. Regardless her attempts to change an injustice environment will improve it for others eventually. The best first step is to call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and see if they have guidelines, etc... Because this is a government agency, a quicker route might be via 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, which has an 800 job problem line. I hope that helps your mom. Let me know if you need further suggestions. Good luck to you and her.



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