Does making a worker don risque garb violate employee rights?

September 10th, 2018 in Employee Rights


Asking an employee to wear certain types of clothing on the job may be a big no-no. It could actually be infringing upon employee rights in Ontario. Some restaurant chains have been taken to task for allegedly making their female staff wear clothing that could be construed as being in violation of women’s rights. Some women have been afraid to speak up, fearing they would lose their jobs if they did.

But more women are letting their displeasure over it be heard loud and clear. Some have stood up and called out their employers for insisting they wear clothes that they say make it difficult to do their jobs properly, are sexist and invite sexual harassment. These women say they don’t want the unwanted attention wearing risque clothing often brings.


According to Canada’s Human Rights Code, an employer can’t be discriminatory against someone based on his or her  gender. Making employees wear gender-specific or sexualized clothing goes against the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Some of these establishments, however, say their dress codes are classy and not sexy. More women are coming forward with sexual harassment allegations on the job as well within the last few years. For instance, in 2015 a Toronto pastry chef spoke out against what went on in the kitchen where she was working at the time; those incidents, she said, included snapping of bras, slapping with tongs and inappropriate grabbing.

Employees in Ontario who believe their employee rights or human rights have been violated have every right to speak to a lawyer about the process of filing a claim for monetary damages. Unfortunately, things can get out of hand in a work-related environment; harassment, sexual misconduct or constructive dismissal are all areas of concern. A savvy and compassionate employment law attorney can assess the situation and help right any wrongs that have occurred.