A Darwin barbershop owner has made national headlines after she had an anti-discrimination complaint lodged against her for refusing to serve women.
The dispute arose after Star Barber owner Joy Arnott told a woman customer that she only cut men’s hair.
“Women do not have the right to take up space everywhere, just because they are women,” Ms Arnott told the NT News.
“This is an outrageous sense of entitlement and it does not reflect what I understand the anti-discrimination act is all about or should be used for.”
According to the NT News report, the complaint is now under investigation by the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission.
According to the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act, it is against the law to treat someone unfairly when they are accessing goods, services and facilities, on the grounds of a person’s attributes including sex.
The barber shop’s website describes itself as “Darwin’s premier Barbershop for men. A place where men can get a great cut and shave, enjoy the conversation, the music and a beverage.”
Ms Arnott said her business was “pro men not anti-women”, telling ABC Darwin “I think [men are] entitled to have a space that’s designed for them”.
The story has caused debate across the country, and has been widely reported in newspapers, television and online.
Ms Arnott’s Facebook page has been filled with messages of support, including “stick it to them Joy!” and “stick to your guns… you are doing great things” and “it seems like the rest of the country is on your side too”.
Ms Arnott says she now plans to apply for a legal exemption from the anti discrimination legislation.
George Calderon, lawyer and seconded consultant from Discrimination Claims, says Ms Arnott will be lucky to get her application for an exemption approved.
“Some businesses are successful in getting exemptions from discrimination laws, but usually it’s only where there is a community need, for example some gay bars, and women’s-only gyms,” he said.
“The test for exemptions includes the desirability of righting the wrongs of past discrimination, and making people feel safe in certain circumstances”.
If you believe you have been been discriminated against because of your sex in relation to the delivery of goods and services, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call Discrimination Claims on 1300 835 837 for expert and confidential advice about your options.