Discrimination?

Woman brings human rights complaint against employer she says fired her for not wearing a bra

Christina Schell. (Twitter)

A woman in British Columbia, Canada, has filed a human rights complaint against the golf club where she worked, claiming that the company fired her because she refused to wear a bra.

According to the CBC, Christina Schell was working as a server at the Osoyoos Golf Club in Osoyoos, British Columbia when she was notified that the company’s new dress code required all women to wear a tank top or bra under their uniform shirt. Schell doesn’t like wearing bras — “They’re horrible,” she told the CBC — and she was not particularly keen on wearing an undershirt in the summer heat.

Schell said she brought her concerns to the club’s general manager, who reportedly replied that the rules were implemented for women’s safety.

“He said, ‘I know what happens in golf clubs when alcohol’s involved,'” Schell alleged.

Schell refused to comply with the dress code, and claims that she was consequently fired. She has filed a human rights complaint and, in an interview with Global News, has said the ordeal has left her feeling “degraded.” Schell says she doesn’t wear a bra for health reasons, but golf club management reportedly said it has been receiving complaints from customers.

“I never thought I’d have to face this,” Schell said. “I’m angry more than anything.”

The hearing date is still pending, so whether or not the courts will agree with Schell’s allegations of discrimination remains to be seen. She may, however, have a good case. Nadia Zaman, an employment lawyer, told the CBC that employers in Canada can require a gender-specific uniform — but only for reasons of safety.

“If they simply require that female employees wear a bra but then they don’t have a similar requirement for males,” Zaman says, “and they can’t really justify that … then there is a risk that their policy’s going to be deemed to be discriminatory.”

Schell said she’s not looking to get her job back, but to raise awareness about an injustice. “I don’t think any human being should be able to dictate another person’s undergarments,” she said. “These things happen and these things aren’t right.” For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at the CBC.

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