While the OHRC has limited its inquiry to certain companies, the OHRC policy position on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes applies across Ontario. The Policy position and related OHRC tools and resources (Appendix D) are provided to help all companies identify and remove dress code barriers.
All Ontario restaurants and other organizations must make sure that their dress code policies are consistent with the Code. This is a key step to create fair and equitable work environments, and to prevent human rights violations and litigation.
We encourage restaurant employees and other workers who feel that dress code policies discriminate against them to raise the issue with their employer, if they feel they can, and to use the OHRC’s policies and other resources to self-advocate. If this is not successful or possible, they may choose to file a human rights application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and/or contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) for support in this process.
Human rights protections are comparable across Canada, and concerns about gender-specific dress codes have not been limited to any particular jurisdiction. Human rights law requires that workplaces take proactive steps to ensure that their work environments are inclusive, and allow people of all sexes and genders to work without discrimination.