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Bunnings responds to worker’s outrage over 'disrespectful' customer acts

Bunnings has decried customers treating their female workers differently after a young worker opened up about her experience.

Bunnings said it "does not tolerate" sexism after a young worker revealed she felt "ignored" and dismissed as "feeble" by customers in store, in stark contrast to how her male counterparts are treated.

Bunnings worker Haley Webber said she felt she was treated differently because she was a female as she recalled a recent encounter she had with a man who had been shopping for a heavy set of bags and needed help getting them down from the shelf.

She was was happy to help him, but he insisted she wouldn’t be able to manage the task because the bags weighed 20 kilograms each and he thought she wouldn’t be strong enough.

The Bunnings staff member said the customer looked at her like she was a “weak” and “feeble woman” and tried to do it himself.

Bunnings worker Haley Webber explaining the sexism she receives
Bunnings worker Haley says this happens to her all the time and she's sick of it. (Source: TikTok)

Have you felt looked down on at work? Contact stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

“So, I watched him struggle for a bit and then I go, ‘Just give me a bag and let's see what happens’,” Webber said in a video posted to TikTok. “So, I take the bag, put it in the trolley, and I'm like, ‘That wasn't hard, it was only 20 kilos’. Like, it's not that heavy.”

‘It happens all the time': Young woman 'constantly overlooked'

The Bunnings worker claimed this kind of behaviour happened “all the time”, adding she constantly felt “overlooked” by customers just because she was a woman.

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“If I'm standing at the counter with a male co-worker and someone has a question, they totally bypass me [and] go straight to my male co-worker,” she said. ‘Or they come up to me and they go, ‘Can you please get me someone who can help me?’ before they even ask the question.

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“Maybe it’s my specialty. Maybe I know exactly how to answer that question. They don't seem to care though. They don't even ask. They just ignore me.”

Bunnings told Yahoo Finance it strives to be an inclusive business and is "proud that half of our team members are female.

"Our team are the heart and soul of our business and we work incredibly hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for them when they come to work," chief people officer Damian Zahra said.

"We’re really disappointed to hear one of our team members has experienced disrespectful behaviour, which is something we don’t tolerate in our stores.

"We always encourage our team to raise any concerns they may have with us about issues they’re facing at work, and we have a range of measures in place to support them."

Bunnings disrespect not an isolated incident

Webber said some of the disrespectful behaviour she'd faced did not appear intentional, but divulged that “it definitely comes across that way”.

Other people claiming to work for the hardware giant said they'd faced similar experiences.

“I feel you girl, I work at Bunnings too and the sexism is absolutely insane,” one said.

Another added: “22-year Bunnings veteran here. These attitudes haven’t changed. I still get customers bypassing me to go to the teenage boy who is old enough to be my son and I trained him.”

"Used to work at Bunnings and got the same thing from male customers … I knew more than most of the men/boys working," a third wrote.

This comes as the Workplace Gender Equality Agency published the pay gap between men and women for private sector companies with 100 or more employees for the very first time in a bid to stamp out inequality.

The report found 90 per cent or more employers in the mining, electricity, water and waste services and financial and insurance services industries have a gender pay gap favouring men. The national average is 21.7 per cent, equivalent to women earning $26,393 less than men annually.

Just 31 per cent of women feel they are being treated equally to men at work, while 51 per cent of men feel there is equality, according to a study from the University of Sydney.

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