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  1. General comments on uniforms

    From: Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants

    Some restaurant companies underscored the value of uniforms and dress codes in promoting the company brand, ensuring a professional and consistent look, distinguishing staff from patrons, and addressing health and safety-related concerns (such as non-slip footwear, reducing risk of accidents relating to jewelry, and not getting hair in food). These are all legitimate business interests, as long as the requirements do not have a discriminatory Code-related impact.

  2. Appendix C: Sample gender-neutral dress code policy

    From: Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants

    These are examples of gender-neutral dress code descriptions based on dress codes already in use in Ontario restaurants, including a wide range of styles and degrees of formality. Note: all positions should include a pants option.

    Below each option they may wish to include, companies can set out guidelines, such as colour, source, style, fabric type and/or pattern, and how the item is to be worn (such as options to roll sleeve or pant cuffs, limitations on skirt or shorts length, any seasonal limitations on wearing the item, etc.).

  3. Appendix B: Policy position

    From: Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants

    OHRC policy position on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes

    Some Ontario employers require female employees to dress in a sexualized or gender-specific way at work, such as expecting women to wear high heels, short skirts, tight clothing or low-cut tops. These kinds of dress codes reinforce stereotypical and sexist notions about how women should look and may violate Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

  4. Responses to the inquiry

    From: Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants

    Overall, the response from the companies contacted was positive. Most were aware of concerns relating to sexualized and gender-specific dress codes, and several said they had already changed dress codes, or were making amendments when they received the OHRC’s letter. Over several months, the OHRC provided updates and feedback to all of the restaurants contacted, and engaged in dialogue to help organizations identify and address issues of concern.

    In general, companies expressed positive views about addressing dress code, sexual harassment and gender-related issues, mentioning:

  5. Work with hospitality industry associations

    From: Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants

    The OHRC reached out to Restaurants Canada’s Ontario branch and the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) to discuss the dress code issue and seek their help in addressing it. Over the past year, we have been pleased with the cooperation of both organizations, which have worked to raise awareness, identify and address questions and concerns from their members, and provide tools and assistance to remove dress code barriers and increase human rights compliance.

    The ORHMA has[17]:

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