Read fine print Lorna Jane, ad’s not on
ACTIVEWEAR company Lorna Jane has come under fire this week but an important point has been missed in all the furore.
There is nothing wrong with a clothing company specifying the size of a fit model. A fit model is employed as a human mannequin to try clothes on to ensure they fit in the way the designers planned.
A fit model by definition needs to have very specific measurements because they’re representing the target customer. Even someone who is a runway model may not be suited as a fit model, simply because their bust or waist doesn’t exactly match specifications.
What is not right, however, is combining that role with that of a receptionist. The two sets of requirements are not remotely related and never should have be advertised as such. A receptionist does not need to be a certain size to do a job well and to imply otherwise is discriminatory, even if far from Lorna Jane’s intention.
It’s cutting corners to try to have one less staff member on the books and it probably happens a lot more than people realise.
Despite a Lorna Jane representative saying the two roles were both part- time and it made sense to combine them, it shouldn’t have happened. The jobs should have been kept as two separate part- time roles, to keep things very clear.
This is not a size debate. This is about jobs and the need to keep certain things separate.
It’s not surprising that in tough economic times, employees end up doing things outside their traditional job description and expectations change. However, when you roll two jobs into one, you set a precedent and suddenly job applicants have a new list of boxes they need to tick, making the search for work harder.
Another recent example of uproar about a combined role was when Fairfax landed in hot water over a combined sales representative and journalist job. People were angry that these two roles were combined, not recognising that the skill sets needed to perform each job well were very different and in many ways contradictory to each other.
Like in the Lorna Jane case, the job ad was pulled, but that time executives claimed it was a mistake, while Lorna Jane Clarkson is blaming the outrage on people not reading the advertisement properly.
No, I read it perfectly, Ms Clarkson. I just don’t find it a particularly inspiring message.