The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Ontario's current and upcoming minimum wage; whether the terms of an employee's employment contract could be implied because of industry practice; and Ontario Human Rights Commission's new report, Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants.
Dress code policies
With the Ontario Human Rights Commission's recent position on gender-specific dress codes, and with the increase of attention in the news regarding bars and restaurants requiring women to wear high heels, low-cut tops and short skirts, I thought it would be beneficial for our readers to get Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane's take on the issue of gender specific and sexualized dress codes in the workplace, and what employers should be doing to ensure that their dress codes are in compliance with Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
In addition to safety concerns, employers have a legitimate interest in prohibiting dress that detracts from their corporate image or offends customers. The common law principle is that dress codes must be reasonable, balancing the legitimate business interests of employers with the employees' right to self-expression.