March 10, 2018 8:50 am

Vancouver man calls ‘Men Working Above’ signs discriminatory

File. A Vancouver man says 'Men Working Above' signs, which are usually used in situations like those pictured, are discriminatory.

Andy Wong / AP Photo
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“Men Working Above” signs are a common sight when window cleaners and other high-rise workers are on the job on streets across Canada, but one Vancouver resident thinks they’re discriminatory, and is now calling on his city to do something about it.

Glyn Lewis said he realized it when he saw one while he was out on the streets of Vancouver.

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“I thought to myself ‘well there’s no way that this company only hires men, right,’ so there’s gotta be women who are window cleaners and there’s going to be days where they’re above that sign and it’s a woman working, and yet the sign below says ‘men working above.’ I thought that was discriminatory, I thought it was offensive, and I just don’t think that’s the kind of public message that we want in our city.”

He says he called the company and found out women do work there, and said the solution is simple. All signs should just say “People” instead of identifying a gender.

“Someone who created the sign had this subconscious bias that I think permeates so much of our society that kinda says only men do certain types of work. And I think that’s the kind of bias that I just I don’t want to see in public places, especially in a business in our city.”

Lewis says when he heard from the City it said it doesn’t have the power to create a by-law to control it, because it’s considered free speech.

Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer said she’s been in touch with Lewis, and that claims of discrimination can either go through the province with the human rights tribunal, the federal government, or the Advertising Standards Council.

She said ultimately the Charter of Rights and Freedoms arbitrates freedom of expression, and that speaking with one’s MP would be the most prudent course of action for policy change.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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