Female employee wearing see-through top and no bra - Germany

Discrimination and sexual harassment at work

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DanHessen
The incident described is true but I'd like to make clear it doesn't involve me, my firm, or any of its employees. A former colleague at another firm described the following:

1) German workplace, typical office, business casual attire is the norm
2) There have never been official guidelines provided on what is acceptable attire
3) Office is mixed gender and mixed nationality
4) It's not Summertime

Subject A, a female, is a midlevel type. She is not a senior manager, but also not low-level. In terms of seniority/experience she is on the same level as 80% of staff in the office who are for the most part all college educated people. Despite it not being Summer, Subject A wears a sheer, revealing blouse with no bra. Basically her tittays are on display for everyone to see. No one wants to see her tittays. Even the desperate horndog back in the marketing department thinks that she, and her tittays are gross. Subject A works in a large open area (no cubicle). The nearest male employee sits ten feet away and is Pakistani.

A nominally more senior female employee discreetly informs Subject A that her attire is inappropriate and that she believes the nearby male employee is offended. Subject A says OK, but apparently after finding no written rules on attire in the employee handbook, wears the same outfit the next week. A more senior manager is called and she is sent home with a stern warning.

The questions:

A) Could subject A sue the firm for some sort of discrimination?

B ) Could male employees file a sex discrimination suit against Subject A for repeated displaying her tittays, even though it was discreetly made clear to her that it made co-workers uncomfortable?
BattalionBoy
Would this workplace be at a local loony bin by any chance?
Oblomov
The whole issue of workplace sexual dicrimination and harassment is still rather rare and novel in German law. Cases of sexual discrimination usually involved more clear cut issues like unequal pay or being barred from certain professions (e.g. joining the Army). Therefore there aren´t many cases to base an opinion on. However, I do offer the opinion that the risks for both parties are rather limited. The concept of punitive damages is alien to German law therefore she won´t walk out of court with a decision that awards her substantial damages unless she can show that she did suffer some real disadvantages. On the other hand the company will have a hard time to justify a termination of her contract for that reason.
sushified
Not sure but I think they could do something against her for exposing herself and offending others. If she made everyone uncomfortable, she's got a problem. It's not like she was wearing a controversial shirt or a swastika; she is showing her body in a place of work. If it's a brothel thats allright. It's inappropriate! It's like the boss (assume its a guy) walking around with shear pants and showing off his penis. It may not be in the dress code, but you can't walk around exposing yourself like that.
DanHessen
As I understand the situation (and this is not firsthand), it seems more likely that the male employee sitting nearest may want to file some sort of greivance/suit, etc on the basis that she was purposefully creating a hostile atmosphere by taunting him with her boobulars.
Owain Glyndwr
A) Could subject A sue the firm for some sort of discrimination?

B ) Could male employees file a sex discrimination suit against Subject A for repeated displaying her tittays, even though it was discreetly made clear to her that it made co-workers uncomfortable?
as Oblomov pointed out, German law does not allow for punitive damages. In order to sue for money, you have to prove a material loss that resulted from the other party's direct actions. Had the woman lost her job over this, then perhaps she *might* have a case to sue for the lost earnings, though i think this is highly unlikely. Another course would be to sue for the fulfilment of a contract, also not appropriate in these circumstances.
Owain Glyndwr
As I understand the situation (and this is not firsthand), it seems more likely that the male employee sitting nearest may want to file some sort of greivance/suit, etc on the basis that she was purposefully creating a hostile atmosphere by taunting him with her boobulars.
can't he just ask to move to another desk and have another woman sit opposite the titty flasher.

I think the appropriate course of action for the company is to issue an official written warning to desist from showing her titties at work (provided that the attire can be reasonably judged to be inappropriate and "Sittenwiedrig"). If doesn't comply, sack her.
Kay
walking around with shear pants
That sounds dangerous all right.
kato
Funnily, German sexual harassment laws do not cover clothing or nudity. She'd have to go wave her breasts at somebody and ask them if they like em, pretty much (as that could be counted as sexual behaviour).

If there are no rules regarding clothing, she could come naked if she wanted to in theory. Of course, the company can easily change that usually, and there are usually also rules about the professional manager-worker relationship to be found somewhere.
Your boss could also run around with his penis hanging out for example. As long as he doesn't sport a boner, and pretty much doesn't point his penis out to people.

Also, sexual harassment - when not covered by other laws - per se is not "illegal" or "sueable". It's a legit reason for company-internal proceedings such as an Abmahnung or Kündigung, with the company legally required to take such steps to stop harassment.
sarabyrd
The firm can only force Sis Boom-bah to wear appropriate clothing if there is a Kleiderordnung (dress code) at the firm which was accepted when the employment contract was signed, or if uniforms are mandatory.

However, if an employee persists in wearing clothes deemed inappropriate by the management (possibly based on multiple complaints from co-workers) said employee can receive a written reprimand and be sacked if the inappropriate behavior persists.

The case cited in this link applies to a furniture store with constant client contact and may not be the best example for the present case.
Oblomov
The "Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz" (AGG) has introduced into German law the possibility to receive compensation for sexual discrimination even if the claimant has not suffered any material loss ( § 15 II 1 AGG ). However, the compensation payment won´t be very high. You should keep in mind that Germany is rather tolerant of nudity. A Pakistani man who has a problem with a woman wearing a somewhat revealing top would be quite lucky to find a judge who is sympthetic to his problem.
Mik Dickinson
It would come under something the German working law that is titled Störung der Betriebs Frieden.Disturbance of the working place.Normally a stern word in her ear from HR should be enough but if she carries on then she will get a written warning that could by repitition lead to her work contract being terminated
veronasteve
i knew a chef who cooked in a strip club,the girls used to come in to the kitchen to get warmed up after coming off stage!!
hes now completely disabled and will never work again...surely this is a joke ,men being offended by women displaying themselves
offices and germany great combo
kato
Nah, Störung des Betriebsfriedens is very tightly defined.

Basically:
1) breaking the law in any way
2) discriminating against other employees (with the usual stuff)
kato
surely this is a joke ,men being offended by women displaying themselves
I'd be offended. No matter whether "she, and her tittays are gross" or not.
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