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Coffee chain criticised over staff badge saying, I am new, kiss me.

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Coffee chain Pret a Manger has faced heavy criticism across the media this week after an employee was spotted wearing a badge which said “I am new, kiss me”.

Pret a Manger has stated that they “definitely don’t ask our employees to wear badges with this message” and that it would be looked into “as a matter of urgency”. Pret a Manger explained they allow their teams to order badges with their names and personalise them. They have stated that they will ensure only names are used on badges going forward.

With a significant number of sexual harassment allegations coming to light in recent weeks there is an increasing awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace.  Under the Equality Act 2010 “ any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or related to sex, which has the purpose or the effect of violating dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” is prohibited. If the member of staff had been forced to wear this badge rather than personally choosing the badge it could potentially be construed as harassment.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raise in this report please contact a member of our employment team. 

This article is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.