The Guardian 11 May, 2005

Sexist bosses
backed by sexist magistrate

When a gaming room attendant at the Mountbatten Hotel in Sydney objected to being ordered by her boss to wear a miniskirt to work, and to his molesting of her, it ended up in court where a magistrate put all the blame on the worker. Federal Magistrate Rolf Driver said Susie Zhang "was not asked to do anything that she was unwilling to do outside the workplace" and found against her claim for sexual discrimination.

In his findings Magistrate Driver said Ms Zhang "admitted owning short skirts and wearing them socially" and that she was "willing to display herself in a sexually alluring and revealing way" because she had posed for a magazine in a bikini. The magistrate found that "It does not avail her anything to complain that her employer took advantage of her sexuality."

Ms Zhang's union, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union, said that it had succeeded in having a clause inserted into the award dealing with offensive attire in the 1980s in response to hotel employers' demands for female staff to work topless but that the Howard government's stripping of awards had removed the clause.

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon did not pull any punches. "It is difficult to see how Magistrate Driver found it plausible and acceptable that an employee could be required to wear a miniskirt as part of her work in a pub even though other workers were not required to do so.

"I found it particularly appalling that Magistrate Driver considered what this worker did in her time when making his judgment."

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