Sacked manager wins sex bias case

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A WOMAN told by her employers that she was too pretty for her job has won her claim for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Tracey Gatehouse, 24, took her case to an industrial tribunal in Liverpool last year, having quit her pounds 9,500-a-year job after being told that she should try to look more like Margaret Thatcher.

She had worked her way up from a secretarial job to become the first woman area sales manager in almost a decade at the Warrington-based gaming machine operators Stretton Leisure, a subsidiary of brewers Greenhall Whitley.

But the managing director said he objected to her looking 'disco-fied', and Ms Gatehouse said Peter Barrett, the regional sales manager, told her that her good looks could make the wives of pub landlords jealous as she toured licensed premises. Ms Gatehouse, of Sankey, Warrington, claimed Mr Barrett advised her to try to look more dowdy by tying back her long curly hair, and wearing her driving glasses.

In a written decision yesterday, the three-member tribunal outlined its majority verdict that Mr Barrett's comments were 'gratuitous and offensively put'.

The chairman, Errol Lloyd Parry, said: 'Mr Barrett communicated not friendly advice but a far more offensive message . . . He would not have spoken to a man as he spoke to her. Our conclusion was that on the completion of her training she was spoken to as if she was a pretty young thing who had to take extra care to please, rather than a creditably qualified manager.'