25 May 2010
In the view of the Consumer Agency and the Ombudsman for Equality, barbers and hairdressers must price their services based on the nature of the work tasks instead of gender.
It is common practice for barbers and hairdressers to charge higher prices for women. The Consumer Agency and the Ombudsman for Equality are contacted frequently regarding the disparate pricing. As a result, said bodies have now jointly prepared a statement on this issue for those entrepreneurs providing barber and hairdresser services. A segment-wide reminder regarding the pricing issue was previously released in 2006.
The statement sets forth that barbers and hairdressers may freely choose what kind of services they provide to their customers. The services must, however, be priced according to the services performed instead of the customer's gender. In addition to the work required by the provision of the service, the price may be affected, for example, by the service provider's professional skill, products used, location of the establishment, as well as how demanding the work is.
Gender-based pricing is prohibited in the applicable EU directive as well as the Finnish Equality Act. Consumers are also entitled to claim compensation for discrimination in a court of law. The court may obligate the violating company to provide compensation.
The Ombudsman for Equality may assign, as necessary, pricing practices that are in violation of the Equality Act to the Equality Board for processing. The Equality Board is entitled to prohibit the continuation of discriminatory pricing under penalty of a fine. The Crimes Act also forbids gender-based discrimination in all business activity.