A Muslim waitress at a London bar has sued restaurant group Spring&Greene for sexual harassment and sex discrimination. She says she was sacked in May this year for refusing to wear a 'sexually revealing' red dress for work, but her employers deny the charges.
Miss Fata Lemes, a Bosnian Muslim, is claiming £20,000 for injury to feelings and lost earnings.
Miss Lemes, 33, also charged that clients of the Rocket bar and restaurant were encouraged to think of the waitresses as sex workers. It was so bad she was pestered for sex all the time.
The woman initially wore loose-fitting black clothes, but a week into the job she was ordered to wear a tight bright red dress that had a plunging neckline and was open at the back.
She tried on the outfit and found it was 'physically revealing and openly sexual.' She said it made her look like a sex club hostess.
Miss Lemes told Central London Employment Tribunal: 'It was indecent. If you put this dress on, you might as well be naked. Everything finishes in the middle at the chest. It is open at the front and back. I did not want men looking at my body.
'I was brought up a Muslim, and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes.'
She refused to wear it and was immediately fired, she told the tribunal.
But Spring&Greene denied her claims.
It produced photos of one of the waitresses, Amanda Bjursten, wearing the dress in the bar and she modelled it at the tribunal hearing.
Despite her underwear being partially visible through the figure-hugging outfit in one of the photos, Swede Ms Bjursten said she was 'completely comfortable' wearing it. The bar's manager Luca Scanu denied the dress was designed to boost custom and tips from male clients by being 'sexually inviting.'
Italian Mr Scanu said: 'If you have curves, it will show them, but I can see the curves of a woman's body even if she is wearing trousers.'
Miss Lemes's lawyer Joe Sykes asked the restaurant's general manager Danila Bodei: 'The reason for choosing the colour red was to indicate that the waitresses were sexually available, wasn't it?'
She replied: 'No, it was just the colour to match the bar.'
The company claims Miss Lemes resigned in May of her own accord. The tribunal is due to deliver its judgment early next year, Daily Mail reported.