Petition Closed

Stop sexist dress codes in restaurants.

This petition had 31,599 supporters


Marketplace trailer on CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/marketplace-gender-specific-dress-codes-1.3474289

Restaurant dress codes that sexualize female employees are not only discriminatory but also dangerous. Female servers should not be forced to wear skimpy clothing, heavy makeup or high heels when the only requirements for their male counterparts are button down shirts and black pants, and a tie. This not only forces women to sexualize their body for the benefit of the restaurant, but it also places women at higher risk of injury due to the heels these women are required to wear.

It is often suggested that women should simply work elsewhere if they do not like the dress code, however, the issue is not that simple. Restaurants with these policies target young girls and women who are just entering the job market, and whose choices for employment are limited. While some women opt to wear the uniform for pleasure, many women do it because they have financial obligations such as school or children that require they work. With little job experience, a need for flexible hours and the possibility of tips, the restaurant industry is often the best option. Restaurants such as Moxies, Earls, Jack Astor’s and Joeys are large businesses and dominate a large portion of the restaurant market, particularly in smaller cities. This means that women are forced to choose between possibly making less money, and relinquishing the right to wear safe clothing that is comparable to their male colleagues.

A lot of restaurants have started to claim that they do not “require” heels in the workplace. This is a simple way of avoiding any potentially legal windfall if and when an employee tries to prosecute when they are (and they are) fired or injured as a result of what they wore to work. The “choice” is then hoisted on the server, who is then placed under enormous pressure by management to be their best (which means wearing heels). Rewards and punishments both explicit and implicit follow and many women working in these conditions comply with the ideal of wearing tight clothes and high heels. In sum, the reality of “choice” is vastly different than it’s innocent presentation.

Restaurants operate under the guise that they are picking the best women who are best capable of offering guests an “experience” (yes, that is actually the language they use). But what does that really mean?
Is a woman wearing hijab not capable of excellent service? How about an androgynous woman or a transsexual/transgender woman or queer men, etc? What are these restaurants doing for these individuals? How is it not discrimination to suggest that these people are not capable of working in these establishments because they do not slot neatly into the male/female dress code model?

Whose sex are you selling?



Today: Amy is counting on you

Amy McGimpsey needs your help with “Stop Sexist Dress Codes @earlsrestaurant @Moxies_official @Jack_Astors @JOEYRestaurants”. Join Amy and 31,598 supporters today.