An Australian lingerie and sex toy retailer promoting the virtues of sex-positivity, body-positivity and female empowerment to its customers has been accused of sexism and harassment by staff.
Describing the working environment at Honey Birdette, female employees claim it is common practice for managers to demand staff provide selfies to prove their daily physical appearance meets company standards.
Standards include allegedly wearing "Hollywood starlet-style" makeup, fitting skirts, high heels and a minimum of three pieces of in-store lingerie to work each day, which even with a discount would invariably cost staff between $150 to $200 per week.
Pants, employees of the shopping centre chain claim, are said to be strictly banned.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald anonymously this week, staff described the lingerie store as a "cult" that promoted "brainwashing", and also claim they were verbally abused by senior management when they were found to not be wearing enough makeup or high enough high heels.
When not being abused by management, Honey Birdette staffers say they were harassed by customers, with sexually suggestive language, leering, and in-store masturbation being a common experience.
The women also say they were often forced to work in-store alone, unable to take toilet or lunch breaks in order to keep the store open. To ensure the standards were met, staff were subjected to unannounced drop-ins by management and expected to respond to emails outside of hours.
The company also allegedly has a high staff turnover, and incredibly, no formal complaint or harassment mechanisms in place.
Honey Birdette have refused to respond to the claims.