Pennsylvania “Gentleman’s” Barber Shop Fined For Refusing To Cut Woman’s Hair

It’s perfectly legal to advertise your establishment as a place where “gentlemen” might like to go, but one Pennsylvania barber shop found itself in hot shaving water when a woman claimed she was turned away for a haircut.

The business, which is described as a “high end Gentleman’s Barber Shop” on its website, will have to pay a $750 fine after a woman said she was turned away upon arriving for an appointment she’d booked online in March for herself and her boyfriend, reports the Washington Observer-Reporter. She reportedly wanted to get a fade, a short style often sported by men.

But a female barber who works at the shop said she explained to the woman that the staff sticks exclusively to men’s haircuts.

“I’m a barber, that is what I specialize in,” she told the newspaper. “That’s why I work here. I don’t cut women’s hair.”

The state’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs and the state’s Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation researched the complaint, ultimately fining the shop $750 for gender discrimination.

The shop’s owner said they recommended salons and offered to pay for the woman’s haircut elsewhere to make up for the inconvenience. He won’t contest the fine but said he doesn’t agree with it, either.

“It’s infringing on our environment. Guys come here as a kind of a little getaway, to be around other guys,” he said. “My hands are tied. They are forcing me to do this and telling me how to do my business.”

Though there are businesses that may cater to a specific gender, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits public accommodations (including barber shops) from discriminating because of sex, among other things.

As the manager of a nearby Curves gym — a female-centric business — points out: men can be customers if they want to be around mostly women, but it’s up to them.

“We don’t discriminate against men here, we don’t stop them from joining,” she explains. “We tell them there’s only women here and most of them don’t join. I’m not sure why they might want to join here, but we wouldn’t stop them.”

Barber shop fined for not cutting woman’s hair [The Washington Observer-Reporter]