Barber Facing Human Rights Court For Not Cutting Girl's Hair
A Sydney barber has been taken to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for refusing to cut a young girl’s hair.
Sam Rahim exclusively cuts men’s hair at a barber shop in Hunters Hill Village on Sydney’s North Shore, and this is what he told a mother, who is also a lawyer, who walked into the shop and asked him to cut her daughter’s hair.
“I refused politely,” said Mr Rahim. “I explained I’m not qualified to cut women’s or girl’s hair. I’ve never done it. But she kept pressing me, saying I should just do it. I told her there are three women’s hair salons within a minute’s walk but she became angry and stormed out.”
Instead of taking her daughter to a hairdresser like Mr Rahim suggested, the woman made a complaint against him with the HREOC claiming that he embarrassed her daughter and breached anti-discrimination laws.
“She might have been more embarrassed walking to school if I’d butchered her hair,” said Mr Rahim.
“The skills are different. Look up barber and it says ‘a place where men get their hair cut’.”
Sandy Chong from the Australian Hairdressing Council has said that there is a massive difference when it comes to cutting men’s and women’s hair.
“Barbering didn’t have a qualification for 31 years and was only reintroduced two years ago,” she said. “It’s now reached a stage where many female hairdressers are doing the qualification because they see a growing market.
“Someone like Mr Rahim - (after) cutting only men’s hair for so many years - probably has more skills than many of the teachers of the course. I understand why he wouldn’t be comfortable cutting women’s hair."
Mr Rahim, who works to support his wife and baby, is now concerned about the cost of fighting the case against him, including fees to hire a lawyer.
“I haven’t been able to sleep. My wife hasn’t been able to sleep. I don’t understand why someone would do something like this,” said Mr Rahim.
The women who made the complaint against Mr Rahim has claimed that he never said he wasn’t qualified but that he only refused to cut her daughter’s hair because she was a girl.
“A claim has been brought against Hunters Hill Barber Shop in the Federal Circuit Court for an alleged breach of the Sex Discrimination Act. The basis of the claim is that the barber shop refused to simply run the clippers through my daughter’s undercut because she was a girl,” said the woman in a statement.
The case is due to enter the court within the next few weeks.