Shops shuttered for defying law on female staff

RIYADH: Arab News

Published — Tuesday 26 February 2013

Last update 26 February 2013 11:08 pm

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The Labor Ministry in coordination with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs yesterday closed 18 lingerie shops in shopping centers in eastern Riyadh for failing to employ Saudi women.
“We’ll close down all shops that sell lingerie and women’s accessories if they do not fulfill Saudization conditions,” the ministry said. “We have taken this measure to show that we are serious about it.” 
The ministry’s officials will visit shopping centers in different parts of the Kingdom to track down violators of the law. “We’ll deploy female inspectors to ensure there is no foul play in appointing women at these shops,” the ministry said.
Municipalities have been given instructions to issue temporary closure notices if shop owners fail to employ Saudi women.
“We have taken a step by step approach in this matter. We started by educating shop owners on the need to employ women. After that we impose fines, deny computer services, issue notices for temporary closure before finally closing them down,” it said.
The ministry will also seek the assistance of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) to ensure the lingerie shops employ women.
According to the conditions set by the ministry, lingerie shops should employ only Saudi women and there should not be any male workers including salesmen and accountants at these shops. Owners will have the right either to allow only women or only families. Saleswomen at these shops should wear modest dresses.
The ministry has urged the public to inform it if there are any irregularities at these shops by contacting the toll-free no. 920001173 or via email: [email protected]
The Labor Ministry recently signed an agreement with the Haia to expand job opportunities for women at lingerie shops.
Women’s sections in large multipurpose shopping centers should be separated by a wall of 160 cm. Women workers must contact the Haia or police if they face any harassment at work by male employees or shoppers.

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