Next time you’re thinking of instituting some ridiculous, sexist and otherwise discriminatory policies at your workplace, remember the case of Andrew Rodgers of Sheffield, U.K., who owns the Funky Divas salon chain.
Rodgers is under fire for allegedly saying that he was fed up with employing women, and that he only wanted to hire “fat, gay and lesbian” stylists because they were less likely to reproduce (and, subsequently, to take maternity leave), according to the Daily Mail.
Rodgers, a gay man himself, also apparently created an exception for overweight straight people, because “no one would want to have a baby with a fat person.” A courtroom heard all of these allegations in a sexual discrimination hearing, in which many of his former employees presented their testimonies of Rodgers being a sexist bully. “I don’t speak like that,” Rodgers said in the hearing in response to his alleged sexist remarks. “It is ludicrous to think that. It is not my nature.”
Among the allegations were complaints of being berated (or even fired) once Rodgers found out employees were pregnant, yelled at for taking maternity leave, being denied payment for taking time off for pre-natal appointments, handling chemicals hazardous for pregnant women and being demoted after returning from maternity leave.
One former employee even alleged that she’d had a miscarriage in the salon’s restroom while she was doing a client’s nails, but she had been too afraid to inform Rodgers. Another had apparently gone into early labor after being overworked. The former employees called Rodgers a “Jekyll and Hyde” character who would enter into fits of anger without warning. Rodgers denied all of the claims, saying that some of the perpetrators of the suit were simply miffed because he’d tried to discourage them from opening up a competing salon.