News & Views

Pizza hut serves up a slice of good ol’ fashioned sexism…

BY Paul Deans
Employment law
BG Purple

A job advert for a Pizza Hut branch in Surrey has delivered a HR disaster for the brand.

The ad, posted online, called for “a decent good looking girls [sic]” to fill a part time reception role. Needless to say, when a screenshot of the ad made its way onto social media it quickly went viral and the fast food behemoth was forced to issue a hasty apology.  

Of course, many companies are open about the fact that they only hire attractive employees in keeping with their brand image. No matter how distasteful this practice may be, it does not contravene the Equality Act since “attractiveness” is not a protected characteristic.  

However, the Pizza Hut ad could have landed the franchise in tribunal facing a sex HR claim given the obvious implication that only females were required for the reception role (heaven forbid a man be seen in a front of house position!) and the suggestion that only female employees need meet the hirer’s standards of beauty. 

Pizza Hut has since confirmed that the ad was not officially sanctioned and was the responsibility of a rogue staff member at the franchise who is being “managed internally” (oh to be a fly on the wall in THAT disciplinary hearing!) following the mishap. The furore serves as a valuable reminder of the offence that can be caused by misguided job adverts and, crucially, that getting HR to glance over job adverts before they are posted is no bad thing. 

Oh, and after we’d picked ourselves up off the floor from the shock of the blatant HR we noticed the massive grammar clanger in the ad- time for Pizza Hut to proof read its adverts on all fronts we would suggest!  

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