A hair removal services company in Canada is facing a human rights complaint after a Muslim employee refused to wax the legs of a transgender woman who was born male.
The trans woman customer filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, saying the Mad Wax in Windsor, Ontario, caused “immense harm” to her dignity. The client says she called and asked about possible leg waxing services, and was told the manager would call her back. She was ultimately told they couldn’t touch “male parts.”
When the manager, Jason Carruthers returned her call, the complainant alleges he advised that Mad Wax does not provide waxing services to men and that his ‘waxer’ is a Muslim woman who is not comfortable waxing male parts. Carruthers also indicated no other staff were available to perform the request.
The complainant claims to have offered to educate the manager on his duty to accommodate, then sought waxing services elsewhere…
The application to the HRTO says Carruthers’ “refusal to provide me with leg-waxing services because I am a Transgender woman, and their disclosing my name, gender identity and personal information to various media outlets has left me feeling threatened, exposed, with my rights violated in terms of seeking services as a woman in the Windsor-Essex community.”
Carruthers, president and CEO of Mad Wax Windsor Camp Inc., responded to the complaint by emphasizing that they value their employees’ religious beliefs over fairness to their clientele.
“All clients regardless of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation are welcome,” said Carruthers. “However, we also welcome staff members and respect their religious beliefs and feelings of safety and dignity in regards to the right not to perform waxing services on males or male genitals.”
The story, which has been picked up by RT and the Christian Post, is not the first involving denial of service based on firmly held religious beliefs. The courts have been dealing with bakeries refusing to serve same-sex clients, and just last week the opposite situation occurred – a California coffee shop refused service to a Christian man who harassed a Muslim woman while they waited in line.
Personally, I respect sacred religious beliefs of all people, but I also see how this could be considered discrimination. I think that, if a company wants to respect its employees’ beliefs in that way, it should also make sure someone is available to assist those who won’t otherwise be helped.