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Friday, 21 June 2013

Things that bump in the day ...

Well, I telephoned Head Office at 9am just I said I would and got put through to a very sympathetic lady who listened and went away to discuss this in more detail with her colleagues. She then came back and informed me that this was a matter for my Area Manager, sadly a man (how much easier it would be to discuss this with another female). She gave me his telephone number and advised me to contact him.

All I got was an answerphone, so I left what I considered to be a nice and friendly message stating that I needed clarification re the dress code, went out shopping and left it at that.

When I got home I hoped that there would be a message from him, but there was none, and four hours later it has still not been forthcoming. I doubt at this stage that it will be. Anyway, in desperation I phoned Head Office again, and asked if there might be a female Manager I could speak to instead, feeling by now quite upset. Five minutes later that call finally came. 

I don't remember the woman's name, and it would in any case be inappropriate to mention here. If I would not be  stupid enough to mention my employers name, or the location of the home where I work, then I be even more foolish to mention employees names. Suffice to say that she was not sympathetic to my cause, stating instead that if this had happened in her home, she too would be insisting that I wear a bra. I pulled all the punches I could, mentioning Coran's situation and asked whether they would require him to wear a bra. The answer was probably yes. I also mentioned that I suspected they found out by looking down my own top as I bent over to pick up the bin bag, and it was therefore not an issue until I had put my clothes on and taken theirs off. It cut no ice, but instead elicited the opposite. It became clear that I was not going to get anywhere, and rather than being sympathetic to my cause, she was in fact the opposite, not what you would expect from someone of the same sex, who must surely have encountered similar issues herself.

She did say that I could if I wish follow the grievance procedure, but I doubt if that would make a difference, as they have made their feelings abundantly clear. There does however appear to be a double standard, whereby one of the female Managers who was waiting outside the staff room that day, and I suspect may have had a hand in this, was sitting in reception the other day wearing a sleeveless vest herself with a large tattoo clearly visible on her arm. This too is against the dress code, yet nothing was said to her. When I pointed this out, I was informed that I had the right to raise this. If I see this again, then I most certainly will.

I hate the way though that this has turned staff against each other, and created an atmosphere of fear and oppression, whereby I and others no doubt too, once this gets round the home, as it surely will, means that women no longer have control over their own bodies and what they can and cannot wear. No matter how I look at this, despite all their assertions to the contrary, I just do not think that this is right. It is clear however that this is one argument that I am not going to win, so I have to now question whether I want to remain.   

Was this really all worth it because of a few bumps on my chest - and trust me, they are small.

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