With the rise of zero-hours contracts and precarious freelance employment, it has become easy for companies to dismiss employees for – shall we say – questionable reasons.
But this story takes the cake.
A London TV company allegedly fired a young woman for being "too attractive." Emma Hulse, 24, was five minutes into a freelance shift at UNIT TV when a manager sent her home, saying she "should be on a catwalk.”
The company admitted that the incident occurred and have fired the manager concerned.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Hulse said she arrived at 9.30 a.m. for her shift, which was due to end at 6 p.m., and a fellow runner began explaining what she was meant to be doing.
"Then my agent text me that I’m no longer required," she said. “I got there and spoke to the line manager and he asked me, ‘Are you a model? Are you not doing catwalks, why are you not at the front of house?’"
“I was wearing a lipstick but from my perspective I was not inappropriate. I was wearing a shirt and trousers. I really didn’t think I looked inappropriate," she added.
The man then asked for her number and suggested they go for a drink, Hulse said.
Hulse, who also works as a camera operator and freelances at other companies, said this is the first time she was sent home because of her appearance.
“Maybe that company employs plain looking people and maybe if you don’t look that way they don’t take you, maybe I was a distraction," she told the Evening Standard, adding that "within a creative agency you should be free to wear what you want.”
Adam Luckwell, who owns UNIT TV, said the employee who allegedly sent her home was fired after a three-month probation period.
He said "there were a number of things we were not happy with,” in relation to the former employee. “We decided not to continue with the employment and terminated the contract within three months," he told the Evening Standard.
"We felt he was a bad fit for us and some of the things he was doing was not in line with the company’s policy."