Pregnant lap-dance waitress wins payout

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The Independent Online

A head waitress at a lap dancing club was awarded £60,000 compensation for sex discrimination yesterday after she was suspended from her job when she became pregnant.

Samantha McGaw, 27, told an employment tribunal that managers at the Spearmint Rhino Club in central London stopped her working after it became obvious she was expecting a child. Ms McGaw, from Paddington, said she lost £5,000 a month in cash tips on top of her £26,000-a-year basic wage. Her job was to greet customers, explain the rules, serve drinks and help people find dancers they liked.

She said management meetings were like being in a "male locker-room". As the only woman manager, she said she felt "excluded and humiliated" by conversations at the club in Tottenham Court Road. Ms McGaw claims her general manager insisted she hire his flatmates as waitresses although she considered them unsuitable. She told the central London Employment Tribunal: "This was not an isolated incident. There was a lack of respect in the job I was doing and there was a lack of respect for women in the club."

Ms McGaw hopes to be allowed to return to her job after the birth, which is due in two weeks. Her £60,000 award was for damages, breach of contract and hurt feelings. Spearmint Rhino did not defend the action.

Max Clifford, the publicist for Spearmint Rhino, said: "The club will appeal. Ms McGaw was suspended because of complaints about her conduct by staff and customers."