Can you think of a store, restaurant, or bar that appears to require women to wear low-cut tops, short skirts, tight dresses, or high heels when they go to work? Well, it might be wise for those employers to take another look at their dress code policy in light of the Ontario Human Rights Commission position on gender-specific dress code announced on International Women’s Day 2016 and the passing into law of occupational health and safety provisions protecting against workplace sexual harassment and violence. Under Bill 132, the OHSA’s definition of “workplace harassment” will be expanded to include “workplace sexual harassment.”
In Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1716 v. British Columbia Assessment Authority, the union filed a policy grievance after a new management policy was put in place in the Kelowna office of the British Columbia Assessment Authority. The new policy banned the wearing of blue jeans or shorts in the office by all employees on days that they were not in the field in settings where jeans were appropriate, for example on farm locations.
Human resources experts agree that employees appreciate knowing your expectations about how they should dress for work-if they exist. However, some managers and employers disagree with dress codes. One of our subscribers wondered what our readers think, so in a recent HRinfodesk poll, we asked, Do you agree that workplaces should have a dress code?