Managers at The Dorchester hotel in London have come under fire after sending a list of personal grooming requirements to its female employees, which bans chipped nails, oily skin and unshaven legs.
While some of the guidelines are just basic hygiene (such as brushing your teeth and using deodorant to avoid 'off-putting body odour'), others – such as the ban on ‘oily skin' and ‘excess body’ hair – have been described as 'downright offensive' by Dorchester employees.
While employees are encouraged to 'wear full make-up,' this make-up cannot be 'overly garish' or 'bright' - mixed messages much?
‘It is disgusting. This list is like something out of the Dark Ages, and downright offensive,’ one member of staff told the Daily Mail, adding ‘It’s not as though you choose to have oily skin and a lot of women, especially teenagers, cannot help it – no facial wash or moisturiser in the world can control that.’
‘The women are all pretty livid but worry that if they complain – or rebel and turn up to work with chipped, dirty nails and hairy legs, for example, they’ll be sacked on the spot.’
Despite the response this list has provoked, the hotel has stood by the rules and maintains that these ‘standards’ are what gives the Dorchester it’s five star status.
‘The Dorchester has a proud community of employees who uphold world-leading hospitality standards including grooming, in line with many other luxury brands,’ said general manager Roland Fasel in The Telegraph, adding that ‘all new applicants are sent a copy of our grooming standards in advance of interview.’
The full list of requirements is as follows…
Shave your legs (even if you're wearing tights)
Wear full make-up
Wash your hair
Brush your teeth
Have regular manicures
Have oily skin
Wear overly garish or bright make-up
Display chipped or bitten nails
Have off-putting body odour
Display any excess body hair, which includes the face
It's not the first time - and probably won't be the last time - that a high-profile, high-class establishment has come under fire for imposing exacting demands upon its female employees. As Sam Smether, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, puts it: 'Employers should concentrate on what enables people to do a good job and what drives productivity. This is 2016, not 1970.'