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The barber taken to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission after declining to cut a young girl’s hair has been forced to apologise.

In April we originally shared that Sam Rahim, who runs the Hunters Hill Barber Shop in Sydney’s North Shore, told 9 News he was devastated by the summons.

In December last year a women came into the barber shop and asked him if he could cut her daughter’s hair, to which he ‘politely refused’.

Mr Rahim is not trained to cut girls’ hair and has no experience in doing so.

‘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,’ he said.

Mr Rahim was accused of breaching anti-discrimination laws and was told he had embarrassed the women’s daughter.

The mother, who is a lawyer, filed a complaint against the barber store in the Federal Circuit Court for an alleged breach of the Sex Discrimination Act.

He explained that the skills of a barber are no compatible with cutting a young girls hair and reiterated that by its very definition, a barber shop was ‘a place where men get their hair cut’.

The woman told 9 news, “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.

“I indicated to him that I did not need him to style, cut or trim the rest of her hair, which is styled in a ‘bob’.

“Mr Rahim’s explanation was that he wished to keep his barber shop for boys and men only. He never said he was not qualified to cut women or girls’ hair, as he has incorrectly reported to the media.”

Update 10 July

Settling the case, ahead of its October court date, Mr Rahim took to social media, posting:

“My name is Sam Rahim and I own and operate barber shop Hunters Hill. There has been media attention recently in relation to a sex discrimination claim instituted against me for declining to provide services to a girl who entered my barber shop. Regrettably, there was a misunderstanding between the parties. I am happy to say that the proceedings have now been resolved. The girl is welcome in my barber shop any time and I would be happy to provide the same service to her as I do for other customers, regardless of gender.”

Mr Rahim said he cannot change the law in Australia.

“In future, if a female/transgender or any gender comes into my barber shop and would like a buzz cut, (a cut within my capabilities) it would be against the law to say ‘no’.

“These are the current laws in Australia and, at the moment, barbers have no exemptions like women-only gyms.”

Do you think this case went too far? 

Share your comments below.

  • In the past barbers have cut males hair and hairdressers cut females.
    They use a different technique because of the difference in styles and lengths.
    Years ago they were probably only trained in one technique.
    Political correctness gone mad again. Go to the right place and don’t complain.

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  • Yes she definitely took it too far. Very silly.

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  • How silly to insist the barber should cut a young girls hair when he is not trained to do so.

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  • I completely understand why a barber would reject a female patron, she clearly had a bob at the point of walking in and a bob is not a barber esk style.
    Although If this girl clearly wanted a boy style haircut then I would be disappointed in the barbers decision. I’m glad the store has cleared things up.

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  • I think the girl’s mother took her there to save herself some money. Wonder how she’d feel if a male went into a salon she was in and asked for a haircut. Would she have caused trouble there as well? Still, I’m glad it has been resolved.

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  • How ridiculous- that poor man! To me it sounds as though the woman didn’t want her daughter to have a buzz cut, but rather a trim to her hair and if he felt uncomfortable or unqualified to do this she should be happy he refused rather than muddle through it and risk her being unsatisfied. Bureaucracy gone mad once again!

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  • Seriously. This absolutely has gone way to far. It sounds like this Mum, with a legal background, just wanted to prove a point. I think if her daughter was embarrassed, it was probably because of her Mum’s behaviour. This has the potential to ruin a business, a person’s reputation. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in where your reputation and image can be smeared and ruined so easily by others.

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  • This has gone too far.

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  • This woman is a lawyer so what chance did Mr Rahim have. He shouldn’t have to cut girls hair if he’s not qualified to do this. If he’d mucked up the cut the woman would still be complaining. My take on this is she’s one of these mothers who possibly wanted a boy so she wants the girl to look like 1. Feel sorry for the kid. She’ll probably not know what gender she wants to be with a mother like she has. Mr Rahim, you should not have backed down to this commissions demands. They won’t be happy till we all become non gender & we all do as we’re told. This is my opinion, which i hope I’m still entitled too.

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  • Just goes to show that some women should never get any power – this went way too far. Bet she would have sued him also if he cut her little girl’s hair the way he normally does a young boys hair.

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  • Incredible that this case has been treated as sex discrimination! :-(

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  • It’s gone way too far. The lawyer is just trying to prove how high and mighty she thinks she is. It’s a babrber shop not a hairdressers and I think the daughter was embarrassed by the way her mum is acting and not the fact that he wouldn’t cut her hair!!

    Reply

  • Barbers do seem to have a different way of cutting hair.


    • I have my own hairdressing/haircutting kit and save $$$ by cutting/trimming hair. Clippers and scissors are both quite different to use and the skill with using them develops over time.

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  • Really!!!! Just because she’s a lawyer doesn’t mean you have to sue everyone that doesn’t do what you want. He’s a barber & I perfectly understand that he’s not trained to cut girls hair. I think the Mum went too far

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  • And she’s a lawyer? I wonder if he had cut it when asked if she’d be suing him for cutting it like a boys? This is just ridiculous. Get over it woman. Hope all goes well for Mr Rahim and it doesn’t affect his business.

    Reply

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