An Ombudsman has been asked to look into whether Wrocław Aquapark's policy of having 'women only' Tuesdays discriminates on the basis of sex.
The women only Tuesdays policy, which is extremely popular with many women across Wrocław and the wider region, applies to the sauna area of the Aquapark. There is also a special zone in the sauna that is reserved to women at all times.
The special Tuesdays could possibly be at threat however. Wrocław's Ombudsman is investigating whether the policy breaches EU regulations, and the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection have now been asked to intervene in the case.
"Why is it forbidden for men to enter the sauna four days a month when the price of a pass for men and women is the same?
It is pretty much breaking the constitution. I have sent a question on this matter to the Ombudsman"
Sildenafi, Wykop.pl user
A statement was published on the issue on Monday by Wrocław's RPO office, who confirmed that they had been asked to look into the Aquapark's women only Tuesdays.
The RPO nonetheless concluded that they do not have sufficient jurisdiction to be able to take action regarding the case. Therefore they have "appealed to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection with a request to investigate the matter."
The RPO statement also said that they have requested that the Aquapark explain their justification for not allowing men to use the sauna on Tuesdays.
With regards to the situation, the RPO have referred to the EU act of 3 December 2010, which "prohibits discrimination in terms of access and conditions to services offered to the public."
However the RPO also note that "A difference in treatment on the grounds of sex is allowed if the provision of services exclusively or principally to representatives of one sex is objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim, and that the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary."
Before the RPO statement was published on Monday, Aquapark spokesperson Anna Hejno had already declared that their policy is "consistent with both Polish and European legislation, as well as with common sense."
After receiving the RPO's request, one would expect the Aquapark to argue that the women only policy is in place in order for their female clients to feel comfortable in the sauna area.
Many women who use the Aquapark understandably find it off-putting or intimidating to be surrounded by naked men behaving inappropriately in the sauna. The women only Tuesdays allows such female clients to visit the sauna in the knowledge that they will not encounter such unpleasant situations.
Should such an explanation be deemed appropriate (as one would expect), the case should then be closed. It would be difficult to see anyone so upset about this case that they would be willing to mount and fund a fully fledged legal challenge.
That said, Anna Hejno has also stated that the latest complaint to the Ombudsman is not the first, so the issue may be raised by someone again. She nonetheless stresses that such complaints are "always unsuccessful", so anybody that makes such a move is unlikely to achieve anything other than making some noise.