Haircut fight headed for round two

Union fights equality board’s ruling that men and women can’t be charged more for haircuts based solely on gender

In early 2013 the state’s equality board, Ligebehandlingsnævnet, ruled that gender-based haircut prices were a breach of national laws meant to ensure absolute equality in all spheres of society.


The case was filed to the board in October 2009 by a young, short-haired woman who lodged an official complaint because she was forced to pay more for her haircut simply because of her gender, even though her hair was no longer than that of the average man. The woman's hairdresser claimed the price difference was not due to gender, but rather to the amount of time needed to cut a woman’s hair. The hairdresser defended the unequal pricing scheme by pointing out that men's haircuts often just involve the use of electric trimmers. The equality board found that explanation insufficient and ruled that only through an objective, case-by-case evaluation could a hairdresser charge different prices for a haircut. 


That decision was a hair-raising ruling for the national hairdressers' union, DOFK, which now is considering taking the matter before the courts.


“We are currently evaluating the verdict with our attorneys and deciding whether to take the matter to court," DOFK's president, John Petersen, told Berlingske newspaper. "We have advised our members to refrain from any price changes.”


The statement prompted a response from Tuk Bagger, the head of Ligebehandlingsnævnet, who claimed he felt the board had made the “right decision in the case”, but accepted the union’s right to take the matter to court.