Target: Laurids Skaarup, President of Moxie’s Grill & Bar
Goal: End sexualized, discriminatory uniforms for female restaurant employees.
Many Canadian restaurants, including Moxie’s Grill & Bar, require their female employees to wear sexually revealing, demeaning uniforms. This violates the Ontario Human Rights Code, which states that employers cannot require women to dress in a sexual manner and that the dignity of all employees must be preserved. Women must not be held to a harder standard of dress than man. Moxie’s Grill & Bar forces women working in the lounge section to where pencil or tube skirts, whereas men are free to wear blue jeans. This is a breach of the Ontario Human Rights Code and must be rectified.
Gender-specific dress codes are prevalent in Canada’s restaurant industry and have been linked to increased employee harassment. According to a study completed by the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, 66 percent of women restaurant workers in the United States said they had been harassed by their managers and 30 percent said that inappropriate touching in the workplace happened often. These statistics are influenced by the dress codes restaurants use. University of Ottawa law professor, Joanne St. Lewis stated that sexualized dress codes can indicate to female employees that they are expected to tolerate harassment in their workplace.
Women have the right to dignity in their workplaces. The sexy outfits that restaurants like Moxie’s require women to wear encourage managers and patrons to disrespect them. Demand that Moxie’s treat its female employees with the respect they deserve and allow them to wear the same clothing as their male counterparts.
Dear Mr. Skaarup,
The discriminatory dress code requirements at Moxie’s Grill & Bar must end. They demean your female employees, opening them up to sexual harassment by managers and patrons alike. Show your customers that you care about the welfare of your workers and repeal this unfair policy.
The Ontario Human Rights Code states that employers cannot require that male and female employees dress differently, unless it is necessary that they do so to perform the work at hand. There is nothing about serving food that necessitates wearing a skirt and therefore your policy is in violation of this human rights code. In 2013, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario forced a local restaurant to pay a female employee $17,000 because the restaurant’s new, tighter uniforms caused injury to her “dignity, feelings, and self-respect.”
Revealing dress codes for female employees also increase sexual harassment in the workplace. One employee at Moxie’s stated that she often received the “unwanted attention that kind of comes with the outfits we were wearing.”
In your statement to the CBC, you said that female employees had a choice of whether or not to work in the lounge and wear the skirts that it required. Employees working in the family section of the restaurant were not subject to the same dress code. Ask yourself, what it is about the food in the lounge that requires sexy skirts? Will it leap off the plates if a woman serves it without one? Because that’s the only explanation that does not violate the Ontario Human Rights Code.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: S.N