Osoyoos waitress Christina Schell said she is filing a human rights complaint against her former boss after he unfairly demanded she must wear a bra while at work.
Schell started working at the Greenside Grill inside the Osoyoos Golf Club three weeks ago.
The 25-year-old said she hasn’t worn a bra for three years due to health reasons. Her braless appearance prompted complaints from customers.
“There was some talk among some members about their personal offence to my undergarment choice and that went to management,” she said.
She claims the golf course’s general manager then attempted to have all employees sign a dress code agreement.
It includes a line that says “women must wear either a tank top or bra under their uniform shirt.”
She refused to sign it.
“I don’t think any other human being should be able to dictate another person’s undergarments,” Schell said.
The waitress said she feels like she was forced out of her job for refusing to comply with what she views as a sexist dress code.
General manager Doug Robb declined a request for an interview.
He said in an email that he is not at liberty to discuss confidential employee matters.
Robb repeated the sentiment when visited by a Global News reporter at his office.
Kelowna employment lawyer David Brown said gender-specific dress codes could be viewed as discriminatory under the B.C. Human Rights Code.
“It’s an interesting question as to whether or not an employer can dictate the underwear that women can wear, but they don’t say anything about the underwear that men can wear, and does that create an adverse impact on the individual?”
Brown said he’s unaware of a human rights tribunal decision regarding a bra dress code mandate, but said there could be grounds for a complaint.
“If this policy is found to be discrimination, the next question is does the employer have a bonafide occupational requirement to essentially impose this on the individual?” he said.
“I’m kind of scratching my head as to what that occupational requirement would be.”
Schell said she doesn’t want her job back, but she wants to raise awareness.
“These things happen and these things aren’t right.”