Pants-wearing N.J. beautician risks being fired

February 10, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Everybody at Quaker Bridge Mall was wondering whether Sharon Brecko would wear pants today when she showed up for work at the J.C. Penney beauty salon.

Show up in pants once more, the bosses told her last night, and you're fired.

The management at Penney's Quaker Bridge Mall store says its female workers don't look professional enough in pants -- though skintight, thigh-high skirts apparently are fine.

So last week, it toughened its dress code to require women to come to work in either dresses or skirts.

The new rules were clear: The first two violations would bring warnings. Show up three times in pants, and you get the boot -- as Diane Carter, 38, did last Friday.

Yesterday was the third time in pants for Ms. Brecko, 44, a resident of nearby Lawrenceville. Her colleagues often wear black miniskirts.

But when her shift ended last night, Ms. Brecko was told she had won a reprieve -- for one day.

"I'm not fired," she said as she left the store with her husband, Joseph. "They want me to come in [today] in something that looks like a skirt."

Fat chance.

"I'm not going to compromise my position," Ms. Brecko said. "I'm wearing pants again."

Ms. Brecko said store managers told her they would hold a meeting on the issue before she reports for work today. She was not invited.

"It's not like I hate my job," she said. "It's just that I think this dress code is crazy."

Ms. Carter, of Hamilton Township, N.J., had worked in Penney's beauty salon for eight years.

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