I am fortunate in my practice to work with clients in different industries, ranging from healthcare and social services to traditional manufacturing. Although employment laws generally apply to all industries in much the same way, there are usually certain issues that some industries face more than others. This is true of many clients I assist in the retail industry.
While employers may believe that they have a broad right to regulate what employees wear in the workplace, this is not the case. The question of what requirements an employer can impose on an employee’s appearance can actually be quite complex because the imposition of dress codes create a tension between an employee’s right to look the way they want and the employer’s business interest in regulating appearances. Unless an employer can provide an objective explanation of why the dress code is necessary, arbitrators typically find in favour of employees’ interests in self-expression.
The Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication just found that a teenaged employee was sexually harassed by her employer with persistent unwelcome sexual conduct. This finding was underscored by the power imbalance, age difference and generational communication issues present. That said, the harassment was considered to be at the most mild end of the spectrum of sexual harassment.
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