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.”
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