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Toiletries and lifestyle stores Rituals discriminated against female employees by requiring them to wear makeup, according to a decision by the Dutch Human Rights Council.

Bodies that issue non-binding verdicts on reports of discrimination tracked complaints from former employees.

According to the ruling, all employees must follow the company’s “styling standards,” and rules regarding necklaces, hair, tattoos and perfume apply to all employees, regardless of gender. In reality, however, only women were required to apply makeup to their eyes, lips, and nails.

According to the verdict, “Rituals proactively checks this at the beginning of the working day.” “Male employees may wear make-up, but it is not mandatory.”

“Functional makeup”

A woman who was employed by Rituals between 2019 and 2021 claimed this was unlawful gender-based discrimination. Rituals argued that although it created a distinction between men and women, there were “functional and necessary” reasons for doing this, and discrimination laws did not apply.

However, the council decided that it was indeed unlawful discrimination because store employees could advise customers about Rituals products and conduct sales without makeup. are doing,” he added.

Businesses may want to advertise their makeup to staff, but the ruling added that this is a “small part” of the product offering and that only “best sellers” are available in stores. means that female employees face higher demands, the council said.


“Rituals make up rules mean that more is expected of female staff than male staff, at least when it comes to appearance,” it said. “Women have to prepare before work. Rituals checks female staff and requests (alternative) make-up if their appearance is deemed unsuitable. does not apply to

According to the council, Rituals has now changed its style guide and it is no longer mandatory for female staff to wear makeup.

Hirya Aydemir, an employment attorney for Sherat Advocaten, told the NOS that the ruling was valuable in raising awareness of women’s rights in the workplace, but that it only applied to Rituals employees. Other employers, such as, still have different makeup rules for men and women.

Rituals, a certified B Corp underscoring its sustainability ambitions, reportedly has 4,600 employees and posted a profit of €1.1 billion last year, almost a quarter more than the previous year. did.

In response to Dutch News Rituals, the company said it had revised its styling guidelines, including makeup, following complaints from former employees. A Rituals spokesperson said: “It’s up to staff to wear makeup or not.

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