Sexist CEO offers employee “boob job”: a case of misguided leadership
The CEO of a US Sports Bar and Grill has fired a waitress for wearing a T-shirt instead of a bikini at work and offered to pay for a breast augmentation for another employee.
The sexist CEO was being filmed secretly as part of the “Undercover Boss” TV show, which inserts senior executives in disguise into their own companies to get a “real world’ view of their company and its operations.
The Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill’s waitresses wear skimpy outfits — string bikini tops and short shorts — as their work uniforms.
The CEO “welcomes controversy and proudly refers to his chain of restaurants as ‘breastaurants.’”
While he was undercover, the CEO noticed that one of the bartenders was wearing a T-shirt instead of a bikini top. When the CEO asked her why she’s not wearing her bikini, she told him she usually wears it but prefers not to wear a swimsuit on camera. (It is believed that she was told she was being filmed for some other imaginary project).
At the end of the episode the CEO reveals his true identity and confronts her about her choice to not wear a bikini top. He tells her that it was a “big bummer,” and proceeds to fire her.
The CEO later sits down with another waitress to discuss her work. After complimenting her as the “model Bikinis babe,” he offers her a deal, telling her: “If you can make it through six months and you’re a rock star ... I’m going to put you in touch with the best [breast augmentation surgeon] in town and we’ll make this happen!”
After the episode aired in the US, the company and TV show were engulfed in a Twitter storm, with people expressing outrage at the CEO’s actions.
While this is an extreme case, there are still a few managers who treat the workplace as a fraternity house. As well as being of questionable legality, exposing companies and individuals to harassment lawsuits and reputational damage, this behaviour is an abrogation of leadership. It sends signals to employees that they are neither valued equally nor for their actual abilities.
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