The lingerie and sex products chain Ann Summers is stepping up its campaign to overturn a government decision banning it from advertising staff vacancies in JobCentres.
Jacqueline Gold, the chief executive, insists Ann Summers should be viewed as any other high street retailer and allowed to advertise in job centres, since the stores are not licensed sex shops. Her lawyers have written to Leigh Lewis, head of JobCentre Plus, in a last-ditch effort to resolve the deadlock before seeking a judicial review.
Ms Gold has also written to Nick Brown, the Minister for Work, pointing out that the shops are not licensed and urging him to reconsider the ban, which does not apply to her other chain, Knickerbox.
She says the ruling restricts the company's expansion. "I have been forced to call in the lawyers as Nick Brown and the JobCentres continue to ignore our attempts to resolve this situation," she said, adding: "It's a serious problem that restricts our recruitment." A spokesperson for Ann Summers said the company felt the policy was out of date and deprived job seekers of opportunities. JobCentres are not allowed to advertise vacancies associated with the sex industry.
Earlier this year, the Employment Service ruled it would be unfair to stop the benefits of claimants who refuse to work for Ann Summers on moral or religious grounds, or out of embarrassment. It said then: "Ministers do not believe that we should attempt to distinguish between varying degrees of the sex industry. They have asked us not to deal with any vacancies in any way."
Ann Summers also said yesterday it was opening shops in some of Europe's top tourist destinations to complement its near 70-strong UK portfolio.
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