Company seeks injunction against 13 women for working with Body Shop

Women claim they were unaware of a non-compete clause in contracts


Some 13 women from Mauritius, Nepal and India who had been working in Ireland as eyebrow threaders have been taken to court by their former employers for allegedly breaking non-compete terms in contracts by taking up work with international cosmetics and beauty store The Body Shop.

The women had been employed to thread eyebrows, a form of hair removal using cotton thread practised in parts of Asia and the Middle-East. It has become a popular alternative to other hair-removal methods in western countries.

Competitor employment
Bushra Threading Company Ltd is taking action against the women and is also pursuing The Body Shop (Ireland) Ltd and three other companies. Bushra Ltd alleges it had a contract with the women stipulating they could not work for any competitor within 1km of any Bushra Ltd premises and could not work for The Body Shop for six months after leaving.

An affidavit of one of the women, Netra Laxmi Oli, filed with the court, alleges she began working for Bushra Ltd and signed a contract in November 2011.

The mother of two, originally from Nepal, said her reading and writing in English was poor and her husband generally took care of such things. She said she and her husband were only given a short time to look at her contract of employment and did not understand it. She claimed she was not advised the contract would prevent her from working elsewhere. And when her husband sought a copy he was refused one.

Ms Oli alleged she had been working in The Body Shop outlet in Liffey Valley on behalf of Bushra Ltd, and in March this year, realised business was not going well as Bushra Ltd was unable to provide work for many of its employees.

She said she heard there might be work available at The Body Shop and spoke to her employer, Bushra Shaik, about it.

Ms Shaik allegedly advised her to take the job. She signed a contract with The Body Shop, Liffey Valley, in Dublin on April 2nd.

She said she was very surprised the court action was being brought as she had been told personally “there would be no problem” if she went to work there. Bushra Ltd is denying the allegations.

Case adjourned
In court yesterday, Bushra Ltd said it was seeking an injunction to restrain the women from working. Counsel told Mr Justice Kevin Feeney the matter had some urgency. He said he would file further documents by next Monday morning. The judge adjourned the case to the end of next week.