Ridout Barron


Sexual discrimination and restaurant dress codes in Alberta

People may be interested to learn about a ruling in which a woman sued her employer, a nightclub, because the establishment had different dress codes for men and women. The woman was reportedly required to wear a bikini top for a Hawaiian-themed bar night, and she evidently refused and instead wore a turtleneck.

The woman complained because she felt uncomfortable with wearing a bikini top in an atmosphere in which many people were intoxicated. The woman filed a suit with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and was awarded $6,000. In its ruling, the tribunal found the woman's employer had very different standards for male and female dress for their employees. At the nightclub, men were not required to wear clothing that was sexual in nature or to wear items specific to their gender.

Women who are required to wear clothing they feel is too revealing based on their gender may be able to file sexual discrimination claims against their employers. While employers may have different dress requirements for men and women, the required clothing must be similar in nature.

People who experience discrimination at their workplaces based on their gender may have the ability to file a civil lawsuit. Differential treatment based on gender is not allowed, and it may leave workers feeling as if their working environments are hostile. People who are required to wear clothing with sexual connotations when members of the opposite sex are not also required to do so may want to seek a consultation with an employment law lawyer. A lawyer may be able to provide guidance based on their client's situation. A lawyer may then help by drafting and filing the complaint on their behalf.

Source: CBC News Canada, "Restaurant dress codes open to sexual discrimination complaints," Riannon Westall , March 31, 2015

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Ridout Barron
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