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Appendix A: Examples of sexualized dress code requirements

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Examples of gendered and/or sexualized dress code requirements or expectations that may violate the Human Rights Code: 

  • High heel and/or uncomfortable shoe requirements for women, while men are allowed to wear tennis shoes or other low-heeled options.
  • Women staff required to wear revealing skirts or dresses, such as: short hemlines, low necklines, sleeveless tops, very tight-fitting and/or thin fabric.
  • Women not allowed to wear pants, given a pants option not equivalent to that for men (such as yoga pants vs. jeans), or told they can’t wear pants in certain roles or locations (such as hosts, or servers in lounge areas).
  • Women staff being prohibited from covering up:
    • Required to have bare/exposed legs: prohibited from wearing stockings or pantyhose, tights and/or leggings under dresses/skirts.
    • Not allowed to wear another layer (sweater, jacket, long sleeves) with revealing outfits, or limited as to when or where they may do so.

These rules subject women to different standards and impacts than men, and may exclude staff based on creed (religion) or disability.

  • Grooming and appearance standards for women that are more onerous than those for men, and/or sexualized or stereotypical based on gender, such as:     
    • required to wear makeup, jewelry and/or nail polish
    • required to wear hair down, in a particular style, or not in braids or dreadlocks. In addition to linking to sex, gender identity, or gender expression, these may exclude certain staff based on religion, race, ancestry, or sexual orientation.
  • Only offering gendered or sexualized outfit options up front (such as scoop-necks, sleeveless tops, mini-dress/skirt), so that staff must specifically request other options (higher neck, long sleeves, pants or longer skirt).
  • Providing women’s uniforms only in smaller sizes
    • This excludes women of larger size based on sexualized expectations
  • Telling women staff what underwear they should or can’t wear: such as being told not to wear a bra, or to wear thong underwear.
  • Pressuring women to wear sexualized dress to be hired, to get preferred shifts, more shifts/hours, or to work in specific positions or locations.

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