Lifestyle

Lingerie store workers are protesting after sexual harassment and exploitation

No toilet breaks, daily selfies in your lingerie to be sent to management, skirts ONLY. #NOPE!

By Bianca Mastroianni
Honey Birdette lingerie workers protest after harassment

For us gals, getting a new set of bra and knickers can be the best thing ever.

It's our guilty pleasure!

BUT, one ~high-end~ lingerie company - Honey Birdette - is being called out by former staff in a protest, after admitting to sexual harassment and exploitation. Ick.

The girls protested outside one of their Melbourne stores, with a petition that has gained nearly 6,000 signatures to cease all sexist practices by the company.

SO, what's so bad about the company? Have a look at just some of the requirements of a Honey Birdette employee...

~ Super high heels.
~ Red lipstick.
~ Being publicly shamed or given a formal warning if the above two requirements aren't met.
~ Wearing all current lingerie ranges (at a discount).
~ Trousers are banned.
~ Employee recruitment was via video chat or checking Instagram and Facebook accounts.

"They are looking for girls who take lots of photos of themselves and carry themselves in a way that is more exposed to the public; [girls] who are actively seeking that kind of acceptance and who they can mould into their ideal," one former worker told Fairfax Media.

~ "Hollywood starlet" makeup only.
~ Daily selfies sent to management.
~ Surprise visits to ensure workers stay back after hours, unpaid.
~ Many workers were rostered on entire days by themselves.
~ No meal or toilet breaks (one girl admitted to peeing in a rubbish bin out of desperation, and another didn't drink all day to limit her distress).

"I wouldn't eat for eight hours – a few times I almost fainted," says former staffer.

"I felt constantly watched, constantly on edge," says another.

Many of the girls were constantly hassled by male customers, especially ones who were intoxicated.

Instead of management helping them, or giving any training to deal with sexual harassment, they told them that it was a 'sales opportunity.'

"They'd say, 'He's probably shy; just go with it, then they'll buy something'," one former employee said.

She was even stalked by a customer, who would sit outside the store every day and watch her. He found out her home address and turned up at her house.

When she took him to court, Honey Birdette management told her that she would have to take unpaid leave, and to return ASAP as she was their best saleswoman.

"I got no sympathy or support from work," she said.

Another gross incident happened when a staff member sent a photo of herself in a new 'range' of bra and underwear to the group chat (as required). One week later she found out the private photo was sent in an Australia-wide email of the entire company.

"I was like, they just posted my boobs on the internet … no one asked me ... that was a bit confronting," she said.

SO MUCH #NOPE! We hope the girls get the justice they deserve.