A controversial new regulation issued by Shaanxi Province's domestic service association that stipulates domestic helpers can't wear tights or revealing clothing at work has been branded discriminatory.
However, the association has defended the move, claiming it was made to protect maids from sexual harassment, Shanghai Morning Post reported yesterday.
"The regulation is only a guide for domestic helpers, but it is not compulsory," Cui Qiang, an officer with the association, told the newspaper.
The association found more than 30 domestic service companies in the province had reported that maids were the victims of sexual harassment from their bosses, Cui told the newspaper. Many bosses complained that the harmony of their families was affected because maids were wearing sexy clothing, he said.
The regulation providing guidelines on dress, what the maid could talk about and how they could behave had helped the situation, he said.
However, more than 58 percent of 9,600 people who voted in a Sina.com poll said the regulation equaled job discrimination.
Sexual harassment and extramarital affairs depended on moral values, not the clothing maids wore at work, the respondents said.
Three domestic service companies interviewed by the newspaper supported the regulation. Xi'an Five Star Domestic Service Company said it announced a similar requirement in 2005. There had been no complaints or sexual harassment cases in the past three years, the company said.
An unnamed domestic helper said she regretted not being able to wear what she wanted at work, but she would follow the rule because it was difficult to find a job.
(Shanghai Daily October 18, 2008)