”We have dirty old men coming into the shop looking at my cup size. Why should everyone get to know that? Guys selling underwear don’t have to show their size,” one anonymous employee told union paper Handelsnytt earlier this year.
Another former employee told Sveriges Radio (SR) that she was first told about the tags on her first day working for lingerie chain Change. The aim, she was told, was to display the shop’s broad range of sizes.
”I thought it seemed really weird, but I wanted the job as well,” she told SR.
The tags were first introduced three years ago. They display both the wearer’s bust circumference and cup size.
Susann Haglund, CEO of Change, told Handelsnytt in January that the tags had been suggested by the employees themselves.
According to Haglund, they are there to aid customers in their choice by showing them what size might be right for what body shape.
”I don’t get why this would be seen as demeaning in any way. I am sure there are those that feel that way, but it is completely voluntary to wear a name tag with your cup size,” she said SR.
However, this is not the impression the former employee had when she worked there.
”When you start you get receive a document which states that ‘name tag with size is always worn’, so to me that doesn’t reflect that it was voluntary. It isn’t great when you’re out on town and people greet you with your name and cup size. It feels sort of private,” she said to SR.
After working for the company for a year and a half, she decided she’d had enough. She read up on her rights and contacted the Commercial Employees’ Union (Handelsanställdas förbund – Handels).
The union say that the tags are a clear case of discrimination and have been trying to negotiate with the company to have the tags removed.
”It is completely demeaning,” Jaana Pålsson of the union said to SR.
According to Pålsson the tags are discriminatory, their use breaks the union’s collective agreement, and could be in breach of Swedish law.
The union is now planning to sue the company after negotiations have finally broken down.
The company still refuses to remove the tags, claiming to have done nothing wrong.
Haglund remains adamant that staff wear the tags willingly.
”It doesn’t say anywhere that you have to wear them and it was a very old document that she [the former employee] cited. There’s nothing like that any more,” Haglund said, reports newspaper Metro.
However, the employee that Handelsnytt spoke to told a different story.
”We have never been told we can remove them. We have mystery shoppers here, and if we don’t wear our tags with name and size it gives us loads of demerits.”