Will you think this is degrading?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Will you think this is degrading?
9
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 5:49pm

Do not bash me (like you always do) I just want to know other people opinion as what do you think about this situation and how is your opinion about it and if you feel that the person ordering these things is acting correctly or she is trespassing the line to get involved in the personal life of a person and the coworker has to obey.  I know this cause this is happening at the workplace with a coworker.

 

I have a female coworker who is married, has 2 kids one in common with her husband and the oldest one has another father but he lives with her, her youngest son is in elementary age and the oldest one is 18 yrs old and he works at the company.

 

This coworker is not wealthy and neither is her husband, not that they had reach the poverty level of course not. She is very religious. They have their house, they do not have a car though, but the husband has a motorcycle and he drops her off everyday at work in the morning and after work either he picks her up or she uses public transportation. They both struggle everyday to make a living by working in their respective workplaces or at least to provide the needs for their family.

 

This coworker never had dressed like a homeless person to say it in a way, like with ragged clothes or something like that.  She dressed normal, average but not with expensive clothes cause she cant afford to buy very nice clothes, cause she has other priorities at her house rather than to buy fancy or nice clothes to come to work. But it is  not like her clothes are terrible, they are very simple clothes. For her position at work sometimes she receives visits so for image, she has to dress accordingly but she does it in a simple manner cause she is a simple lady. This lady hair has always been curly and she has told me her husband like her curls.

 

Well last year she told me something that I was not sure how to think of it or make of it.

 

This lady immediate supervisor or boss is the general manager, she is a lady and as far as I know at work and it not only me who says that but other coworkers, this manager likes to intrude in the personal life of the coworkers and make an opinion about it. It is the truth but this manager is very nosy.

 

This coworker from a time on, she now has her hair straightened and I thought oh maybe she wanted to change a little her appearance and feel good. Then I later found out that for her own choice she did not straighten her hair, cause she loves her curly hair and her husband also  loves her curly hair  that , she has told me, if she did the change was to please the manager, cause the manager once told her she should change her style so she can look more presentable and appealing and less old and curly hair was not the way to go, but since this coworker could not afford to go to the saloon to pay for that treatment cause the treatment was not cheap (keratine treatment for lasting straightening)  the manager paid the treatment herself and now she has no curls anymore but she has to keep going to the saloon every now and then for maintenance otherwise the curls may come back but the maintenance  she has to pay it herself though. She told me once that she is not so fond of going to the saloon every now and then cause it is expensive for her to pay for it each time she goes and also cause she likes better the curly hair but in order for the mangaer to look at her always presentable, if the lady cant afford it, she had  asked the company for a loan and then the company will lower  her salary a particular amount  each pay day to make up for the loan she asked for it.  That is the hair part now lets move to the clothes part.

 

Last week, one day I see this lady with clothes I have never seen before so I though ohh nice then she told me that she did not buy the clothes on her own cause at this moment the money she has she invests it  in  other things(house expenses, utilities, the kids, the school, etc) and if she has to buy new clothes it will be little by little and when she wants and not now. Then she added: The manager deposited me $200 so I can buy new clothes.

 

I don’t know but when I heard that I was like what??? How this manager can do that, for me it sounds a bit humiliating cause the manager believes or thinks this lady is homeless and she has sympathy for her and poor her. Like I said this coworker is  not rich but she dresses in a simple conservative manner, she does not dress like a homeless or with crazy stuff either. The manager of course can afford to buy clothes more often and of good brands and she looks more presentable due to her position but also  she earns more money than her and some of the clothes she owns her husband has bought them.

~

For me it is humiliating and intruding in a person’s private life cause to tell a person you have to do this to your hair cause you do not look presentable and you look old, with those words, that is wrong! That is not the manager choice what I do with my hair or not or the clothes I buy or not is my choice is not hers to choose and to butt in. At work the manager had only done this to this particular coworker to make her change the hairstyle and to tell to buy new clothes and shoes because you do not look good according to her.

 

 

Have you heard of similar situations in other companies?

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Fri, 04-11-2014 - 1:25pm

I have never heard of this situation in a workplace before, but I haven't really worked in an entertainment industry or politics where I would imagine such situations might be more commonplace.

In what industry does this lady work? Where is this workplace located, in the US?

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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http://www.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Wed, 04-16-2014 - 2:49pm

This has happened, though not to to this extent, in my own company.  A woman who worked in the marketing department felt the need to dress, act, etc. very conservative in direct response to her manager.  She came in one day, wearing her conservative suit, but had a colorful (but tasteful) pocketbook and was told by her manager she could no longer wear it!  This same woman has since quit that position, but came back to the company as a consultant, and dresses as she pleases (and looks a lot younger too).  It's unfortunate that this woman you work with is in this situation, but if its causing her hardship, she should discuss the situation with HR.  The company should not be able to dictate the way someone dresses, wears their hair, etc. unless it is completely unprofessional or revealing.  I have never heard of someone having to take out a loan to dress appropriately for their job, or their manager give them a clothing allowance.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 7:38pm

Models, actors, and other kinds of performers have to be flexible about changing their looks for jobs, but I haven't heard of an employee being required to straighten her hair for an office type of job. That she has to do so, and pay for it herself, doesn't seem right. A lot of companies have dress codes or want the employees to look a certain way--especially if someone would have to make changes to their appearance--but that is usually disclosed at an interview, not after the employee has worked there for a long time. Then the employee can consider these requirements before accepting the position. Sometimes a company will just have a uniform or a jacket that the employees are required to wear, ensuring that the employees appear however the company wants. 

Did this woman recently get promoted and the new look is part of a more important or more visible job in the company? I'm wondering if that is why she suddenly needs to change her appearance.

I don't think its "degrading" but I probably would not like it if I was the employee. If her hair looked kind of wild and she was supposed to look conservative for her position then I think the employer has the right to ask her to wear a conservative hairstyle while on the job, but no right to tell her how to look in her free time. Its possible that the manager is "grooming" her to move up the corporate ladder and is teaching her how to dress and look for the positions that they intend to have her eventually fill. In that case it could be considered as helpful---if the  employee wants to achieve that position.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Tue, 04-22-2014 - 4:03pm

No, this coworker has not recently been promoted nor it will be promoted at any moment. Her boss (who is the GM) is the one who has told her all the things I said: She has to get rid of the curls, she looks more presentable with straightned hair and she looks less old,, so she paid for that treatment as this coworker cant afford to pay one for her own, not cheap. Then  the manager lent her money so she can buy more clothes or more presentable clothes and then cause it is a loan, from the coworker salary, an certain amount will be taken when it is pay day (each 2 weeks) so she can pay back the manager for the loan until the total loan is complete.

The bad part is that in our office we do not have Human Resources department in order to file a complain about work or employees issues.

This manager also lieks to monitor this lady over the phone, to check how much time he takes in a call when she calls to people outside work issues, from the work phone, that is why this coworker uses her cell phone to call her house or other personal calls.    I  mean this lady is not that talks mintues and minutes over the phone regarding personal issues, she takes a normal amount of minutes for that like 5 minutes or so, is not like she talks like 45 minutes.

The general manager is very picky in regards of image in the office  she even has asked another coworker to use high heels, and this coworker once told me why do I need that, I feel comfortable wearing flats and I feel good wearing them.  At the office we have a say that this manager mayb be Bi-polar, since she changes from on e opinion to another one rather quickly so we never know what to expect from her then she forgets what she first said then she changes and say other things.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Tue, 04-22-2014 - 4:05pm

Our workplace is not in the US, we live in another country and we work for real estate business.

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Wed, 04-23-2014 - 1:04pm

I do think that some realtors do put a lot of emphasis on personal appearance as they feel that an image of success helps in the ability to sell properties both to individuals and to businesses. I do think that you might not be getting the full story from your coworker anyway. She's agreeing to the loans and hair treatments, at least to some extent, and you can't know if she's being fully honest with you about her feelings or even the situation of her being asked to change her appearance at work.

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


-------------------------------------------------
http://www.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 04-23-2014 - 6:09pm

In the U.S. it would not be acceptable in most work situations but maybe in your country the employees have fewer rights.

If your coworker refused to make the changes would she have been fired or demoted?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Mon, 04-28-2014 - 1:43pm

Well my coworker does not work directly with clients or visits clients, her position is mostly desk job. I mean that is the real truth, as she told thta to a close friend to her.

The Manager was the one who told her to change abit her appearance cause for the manager eyes she did not look ok, she looked a bit sloppy and since this coworker like I said is not like rich to pay for hairtreatments, the  manager gave her money to do that and also the manager lent her money to buy clothes but then the coworker has to ppay her back for that from her salary in small amounts each week when it is pay day. I dont even know but  that sounds as bribe to me and humilliating.

I think this coworker does not mind accepting and doing all that just to to have a job. I mean today is so difficult to look fora job, in this day and if she still has one I guess for her it is better to keep it.

It is not that she use to wear sloppy clothes,  and look terrible of course not, she dressed simple and she had her curly hair as that is her  natural hair, but the manager did not like her curly hair and made her believe the curly hair made her look not presentable and messy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2013
Thu, 06-05-2014 - 6:12pm

Oh my God it happened again with this co worker. From time on the lady in question stop doing the treatment to he hair so her hair is not stylish as it was before, soem of the curls returned and she was just wearing either a pony tail or a headband. She told me she did not have enough money to go to the saloon again to do the treatment again cause now her priority is to change her living room couches cause the ones she had were alreayd too old and it was ragged.   But once again the manager told her that her hair now do not look presentable that if she was not going to do any hair treatment on her hair she rather wear a pony tail. Another lady from work who only is interested in physical appearance and who found out about the situation, told her that if she needed money for that she can lend her some.

I mean I cant believe these 2 ladies from work. that is humilliating.Not only my coworker sitatuion is not good cause she does not earn a lot of money and neither does her husband, and they barely support the house  and they pay the most important expenses at home, but these coworkers keep like reminding her she is not wealthy and cant afford  to pay certain things they treat her like a needy needy person. Not only that but another coworker who is a very good friend of this lady, get rid of her own clothes to give them to the lady. I mean clothes that thiis coworker still uses it but again she knows this lady situation and see her as a very needy person and feels pity for her so she gives her clothes to her.