A Canadian woman has filed a human rights complaint claiming her previous employer, the Osoyoos Golf Club, discriminated against her with a requirement that all female staff wear a bra, reports the CBC.
“It’s gender-based and that’s why it’s a human rights issue,” she said. “I have nipples and so do the men.”
However, some braless women feel discomfort when managers mandate they must wear one in the workplace — a rule that could be deemed discriminatory, because it only applies to one gender.
“It’s unnecessary,” said Kate Gosek who works as a cook at McDonald’s in Selkirk, Man. The 19-year-old says several managers recently harassed her about not wearing a bra, including one who prodded her shoulder in search of one.
“She just told me that I should put on a bra because, McDonald’s — we are a polite restaurant and no one needs to see that.” –CBC
In response to her former employer’s bra policy, Schell has filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. A hearing date has yet to be set. Schell says she ditched bras two years ago because they are uncomfortable.
“They’re horrible,” said the 25-year-old, who took a job as a waitress at the golf club’s restaurant in May – only to receive a notice from her employer weeks later notifying her of the dress code, which read: “Women must wear either a tank top or bra under their uniform shirt.“
Given that she was required to serve customers on an outdoor patio in hot weather, Schell says she had no desire to wear a bra or an undershirt.
“It was absurd,” she said. “Why do you get to dictate what’s underneath my clothes?“
Schell confronted the golf club’s general manager, Doug Robb, and said he told her the rule was for her protection.
“He said, ‘I know what happens in golf clubs when alcohol’s involved.'”
Schell refused to comply, and said she was fired as a result. That prompted her to file a human rights complaint.
Robb declined to comment, stating in an email that employee matters are confidential. –CBC
Nadia Zaman, an employment attorney, says that employers are allowed to impose gender-specific dress codes if they can show there’s a legitimate occupational justification – such as for safety reasons. She has questioned the bra mandate.
“If they simply require that female employees wear a bra but then they don’t have a similar requirement for males, and they can’t really justify that … then there is a risk that their policy’s going to be deemed to be discriminatory,” Zaman said.
Zaman has referred to an Ontario Human Rights Commission decision following a 2016 CBC News Marketplace Investigation which called for an end to sexist dress codes, including high heels and short skirts only applying to female staff.
“They’re basically saying that sexual harassment and gender-based dress codes are off the menu, and they’re no longer being tolerated,” said Zaman of the Rudner Law firm in Toronto.
The McDonald’s employee, Gosek, says she also feels she has the right to go braless at work despite her managers’ insistence she don one.
“She told me they’re distracting,” Gosek’s boss reportedly said of her ostensibly pendulous breasts.
Gosek said when she pointed out to another manager that the McDonald’s dress code says nothing about wearing a bra, he replied, “‘No, but it is an expectation.'”
Gosek also finds bras uncomfortable and says the pressure to wear one at work made her anxious.
“I’m a really good worker but all of this is making me look like a bad person.”
McDonald’s Canada clarified that the dress code policy doesn’t require Gosek to wear a bra. –CBC
Clearly McDonald’s cares about human rights, while Gosek’s managers have a problem with her distracting breasts.
We’re lovin’ it, and hope Canadian officials can see their way to rectifying this most serious of human rights issues.
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