Ouch! Spa sued over Brazilian wax training

A former employee who dished out the procedure claims she was fired for not allowing a coworker to perform it on her.

By Jason Notte Jul 2, 2013 2:24PM
File photo of a woman getting a hot wax treatment (© Image Source/Getty Images)If you're embarking on a career that involves yanking short, stubborn hairs out of perhaps the most sensitive areas of the human anatomy, should you be subjected to the same anguish yourself?

A spa in Pittsburgh felt it wasn't a whole lot to ask, and it required all of its new employees to have a Brazilian wax performed on them by another staff member.

One employee from Western Pennsylvania didn't like the idea of exposing herself to coworkers and subjecting herself to the painful process, so she balked at the European Wax Center's request in October. She was fired immediately.

The former employee, 35-year-old Jennifer Finley, has since filed suit against the waxing chain, according to The Huffington Post, claiming that the procedure would have been "painful, humiliating, embarrassing and discriminatory."

In Finley's view, her firing amounts to both wrongful termination and gender discrimination -- since only female employees were required to take part. While Finley would have been subjected to what every one of her and the European Wax Center's clients has to go through -- mainly, exposing your most sensitive of nether regions to strangers and allowing them to perform an agonizing procedure in the name of beauty -- her lawyer says it's the people who would have performed the procedure on Finley who presented a problem.

"Obviously, it's part of the job," Finley's lawyer, Vincent Mersich, told The Huffington Post. "But when you include the coworkers in the scenario, the dynamic changes quite a bit."

That lack of anonymity made Finley extremely uncomfortable, as did the fact that she expected to be menstruating on the day of her waxing training. According to Finley's complaint, the spa owner fired her. Finley lost not only her $8-an-hour in pay -- 75 cents more than Pennsylvania's minimum wage -- but the modest commission she received for bringing in new customers. She has since filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

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Jul 2, 2013 4:59PM
Why should she have to get a Brazilian? People coming into the spa to get one are doing so by choice, not by force. She does not need sensitivity training to do a job where a woman will willingly drop her drawers to get her nether regions waxed. What I do with my body is not any one's business and I should not be forced to have a procedure done to me just because my client wants me to do it to them.
Jul 2, 2013 3:28PM
Now she is going to give the Spa a waxing in its most sensitive area.
Jul 2, 2013 5:24PM
I was a nurse for many years and am now a Nurse Practitioner. I perform many procedures (some that could be painful) on patients and I was never required to have someone perform the procedure on me first. That is a ridiculous policy and makes no sense. 
Jul 2, 2013 3:49PM
Who would want this job for $8.00 an hour?  Granted I'm sure a lot  of the clients maintain good  hygiene down there but the percentage who don't is enough to make you run for the hills.
There is nothing worse than dirty/smelly private parts and $8.00 an hour is not enough to tolerate this.

Jul 2, 2013 4:04PM
I can see the employer's need for this sort of sensitivity training for employees. But the employer should have required her to get her #### de-fuzzed at a salon of her choosing. I can see her privacy concerns if her co-workers need to get so up close and personal with her.
Jul 2, 2013 4:23PM
What's the only thing worse than working as a Brazilian waxer? 

Working as a Brazilian waxer in Washington DC.  Imagine your potential clients - Hillary Clinton, Pelosi, Wasserman-Schultz, Sheila Jackson Lee, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Maxine Waters, and don't forget - Barney Frank.  You'd have to give them a flea dip first, and since they hate spending any of their own money, the tips would be terrible.  Ugh!
Jul 2, 2013 3:48PM
What's Polish for bikini wax?  Duct tape!
Jul 2, 2013 5:30PM
I hope she sues the pants off of them!
Jul 2, 2013 5:42PM
I think whoever runs the company is a pervert. Must be getting off knowing all the female employees are sporting a bald beaver.
Jul 2, 2013 5:35PM
That means we should have fired Bush & Cheney for not submitting to a water board treatment.
Jul 2, 2013 3:56PM
I would be worried about hidden cameras
Jul 2, 2013 3:28PM

Absurd that they could REQUIRE you  to do this! so........ If I  work in a bank ,I should let my co-workers handle my money?  I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!   

Jul 2, 2013 6:50PM

They may THINK that they can make an employee participate, but you can't require an employee to be waxed-and obviously inspected by a supervisor, that would be sexual harassment, possibly molestation charges could be filed for a person being forced to have this area photographed.

Jul 2, 2013 4:19PM

the owner was obviously male. the ruse may work with an 18 yr old certainly not with a 35 yr old.


Jul 2, 2013 7:12PM
Jul 2, 2013 7:16PM
Making an employee get a wax is dumb. A customer coming in is making a choice to be waxed. They aren't being forced to. Some people have very sensitive skin, myself included. I had a leg waxing once and actually had what looked like burns afterwards. I hope this woman wins her case.
Jul 2, 2013 5:21PM

It is not right. It should be a choice.  For example people got angry on how airport security handled bodily searches and you had your clothes on!  Really this is wrong there is a difference!

Jul 2, 2013 4:41PM

Pennsylvania is an "at will" state. In a nutshell an employer can fire you for any reason. If they don't want brown eyed people now ,and you work there and have brown eyes...ta ta. Her lawyer should know that!

Jul 2, 2013 7:23PM
I am an OR nurse. I am not required to have surgery myself before assisting in a surgery. I don't have to have a catheter put in before I put one in a patient. Even in a right to work state, employees have rights. Her bosses need a kick in the head.
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