As a "wax specialist" at European Wax Center in Ross, Jennifer Finley expected to perform Brazilian-style waxes on paying customers.
But she didn't think she'd be required to get one herself.
Ms. Finley, a 35-year-old Pine resident, filed a federal lawsuit last week against the Ross spa and its corporate owners, saying she was wrongly fired because she refused to allow a coworker to perform a pubic hair removal procedure on her during a training session.
"She is filing it because she thought that it was very unreasonable to be fired for declining to have her genitals viewed, touched and altered by her coworkers," said Janice Q. Russell, her Downtown-based attorney.
On Oct. 1, Ms. Finley's first day of training for her new job, a corporate trainer announced that the following day Ms. Finley and her new co-workers were required to perform "Brazilian-style" waxes on each other. The procedure involves removing pubic hair using a heated adhesive wax.
Ms. Finley, who currently works as an aesthetician and a nail technician, has performed waxing procedures in the past as a spa employee and expected that part of the training in her new job would require practicing waxing.
"I knew that we would be practicing on each other, but I thought maybe for the Brazilian wax part of it, that we would be doing it to people who wanted a Brazilian wax," she said in a phone interview today.
Ms. Finley, who said she was due to begin menstruating the day of the training, thought it would be "embarrassing" to have the procedure performed in front of her new co-workers, and she told the corporate trainer she did not want to do it.
According to the lawsuit, the trainer told her she should "pop a fresh tampon, take some ibuprofen, and you'll be fine."
Ms. Finley repeated her objection to Ryan Glastein, owner of the spa, and was immediately fired.
She has filed suit claiming sex harassment, gender discrimination, violation of her civil rights and wrongful termination. Ms. Russell said her client is seeking back pay, damages and attorney's fees.
"I just want justice to be served," Ms. Finley said. "I just want a message to European Wax and other employers, that they don't have the right to do this to women. I don't think any woman should have this forced against their will. Nobody should be fired for refusing to have it."
A message left for Mr. Glastein with the woman who answered the phone at European Wax Center was not immediately returned.