Bunnings employee exposes mistreatment of workers by sexist customers

Working in retail can be a challenging experience, but for some, the challenges extend beyond the usual customer service issues.

Haley Webber, a female employee at Bunnings—a popular Australian hardware store—recently took to social media to expose the rampant sexism she faced on the job.

Her story shed light on the broader issue of gender bias in traditionally male-dominated industries and raised questions about how companies can better support their female employees.

Webber revealed in a video that she was 'constantly overlooked' by customers who would 'bypass' her to seek assistance from her male colleagues.

In one instance, Webber recounted how a male customer refused to let her help him retrieve a 20kg bag from a high shelf.

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An employee from Bunnings talked about sexism at her workplace. Image source: TikTok/@haley.webber.

'He was like, “No, you are not strong enough,”' she recalled.

Despite her reassurance that she was capable, the customer continued to view her as a 'feeble woman'.

'He looked at me like I was a weak little feeble woman who wouldn’t be able to handle it. It was only 20kg it is not that heavy.'

This incident, among others, left Webber feeling disheartened and undervalued.

While Webber acknowledged that these customers were likely not acting out of malice, the constant underestimation took a toll on her mental health, sending her into a 'spiral'.

Responding to Webber's revelations, Damian Zahra, Chief People Officer at Bunnings, expressed disappointment, saying: '[We are] 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.'

This issue is particularly relevant in light of recent data that revealed a gender pay gap in nearly 5000 Australian companies.

Wesfarmers, the parent company of Bunnings, reported a median gender pay gap of 3.5 per cent for total remuneration, with the gap widening to 7 per cent at the base salary level.

Jenny Bryant, Wesfarmers’ Chief Human Resources Officer, attributed the pay gap to the lower number of women in technology roles at the company.

She also highlighted the company's initiatives to increase female representation in the workplace.

This included flexible working policies and women in leadership programs.
Key Takeaways

  • A young female Bunnings worker has shared her experiences of sexism in the workplace through social media, stating that she is often bypassed and underestimated by customers.
  • The worker, Haley Webber, recounted a specific incident where a customer doubted her strength to lift a 20kg bag despite her insistence that she was capable.
  • Bunnings' Chief People Officer, Damian Zahra, expressed disappointment upon hearing about the disrespect faced by the team member and reinforced that disrespectful behaviour is not tolerated, urging staff to report any issues.
  • Wesfarmers' (the parent company of Bunnings) emphasised ongoing efforts to increase female representation in the workforce, such as flexible working policies and women in leadership programs.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know in the comments below!
Sad to see nothing has changed in the past 20 or more years I worked in the mining industry years ago and though I was very capable and held a Senior position often traveling to remote mine sites number 1 I always had to be accompanied by a Male colleague and put up with sexist remarks and called girly and it's ok love I will ask the fellow so even though I am long retired we fought hard to break the glass ceiling but obviously not hard enough
I can understand the man in saying what he did. I do not think he meant to be offensive. He was just being polite in not expecting her to lift down what he wanted. Some people take offence too easily. My husband has found women in Bunnings to be very helpful & do know the products they sell. The majority of their staff are very friendly & helpful.
I don't blame him for refusing because she is doing exactly what she is accusing him of, she (in her way) insinuated he wasn't capable. And as for the gender pay gap, lol.
I was at a Buntings recently, in the outdoor section, and this guy in a green apron approached me and said I looked like I could do with some "decking". Anyhow, he will be out of hospital in 4 weeks and my court case comes up in July.
why in the name of heaven are so many women trying to be MEN? This gentleman was being polite and considering this "tough" female. I'd have simply said "thank you Sir" if he wanted to help me.AND i'D SMILE. These females don't know what it is to really work hard , I'm fed up with women who carry on about glass ceilings and other crap. One of my jobs had me lumping HEAVY LOADS for over 10 years. My bone density test runs to 3 pages and shows there isn't much of my spine left. Women should use their commonsense and learn that we are all humans with a job to do. Wake up, grow up and find a smile.
You ask..... all this LBGIT or whatever you call it, load of BS.
The other day I went to a landscaping supply place to get a bag of cypress pine mulch. To save $9 people can bag it themselves. I dutifully paid the $9 less at the office, then came back outside to shovel it. To my surprise the owner had told the male employee to shovel it plus carry it to my car. I was extremely grateful and there was no feminism attitude from me.
Get over yourself - stop looking to be offended, and be grateful that you have a job. There are plenty of female customers at Bunnings, make a point of going up to them and asking if you can help them, instead of challenging men with your feminism
As for a 20kg product being on a high shelf is a health and safety issue it shouldn't be on a high shelf issues stacking the shelves removal of the item be it a worker or a customer could end badly with a back strain you only need to twist the wrong way and that's it possible hospital visit better on the bottom shelf bend your knee's and a straight back and lift with your legs no back strain Bunnings should know this 🤔🙄
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