Christina Schell, from Alberta, Canada, stopped wearing bras three years ago citing health reasons.
While Schell did not specify the health reasons, she did state she finds them to be "horrible."
But after her refusal to sign or adhere to a new enforced dress code policy to wear a bra or tank top under her work shirt at a golf course grill where she worked, Schell was promptly fired.
Now, the 25-year-old has filed a human rights violation against the Osoyoos Golf Club, Osoyoos, in British Columbia, Canada.
"I don't think any other human being should be able to dictate another person's undergarments."
When she asked the general manager, Doug Robb, why she had to comply, the manager told her the mandate was for her protection.
Robb allegedly said:
"I know what happens in golf clubs when alcohol's involved."
After losing her job, she brought the case to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and told them the club's dress code was discriminatory because the rule didn't apply towards male employees.
Schell told CBC:
"It's gender-based and that's why it's a human rights issue. I have nipples and so do the men."
David Brown, an employment lawyer in Kelowna, BC, said gender-specific dress codes could be viewed as discriminatory under the BC Human Rights Code.
"It's an interesting question as to whether or not an employer can dictate the underwear that women can wear, but they don't say anything about the underwear that men can wear, and does that create an adverse impact on the individual?"
"If this policy is found to be discrimination, the next question is does the employer have a bonafide occupational requirement to essentially impose this on the individual?"
"I'm kind of scratching my head as to what that occupational requirement would be."
@GlobalBC The policy is sexist the peopl supporting it are sexist. Hope she wins her complaint— Lori bell (@Lori bell)1529692660.0
@Shelby_Thom @WoodfordCHNL @GlobalOkanagan @GlobalBC Then men should have to wear either a tank top or undershirt— caffene fiend (@caffene fiend)1529624161.0
@SoldByBrock @Shelby_Thom @GlobalOkanagan @GlobalBC What does common courtesy have to do with wearing a bra? Breast… https://t.co/ZVI2xDdpgf— M Shumway (@M Shumway)1529843759.0
As for the tank top option, due to working under oftentimes extreme heat serving tables outsides, Schell did not want to wear another layer of clothes just because of her gender.
"It was absurd. Why do you get to dictate what's underneath my clothes?"
Employment lawyer Nadia Zaman told CBC that the club can enforce a gender-specific policy as they deem necessary as long as the establishment can prove it is for the occupational safety of its workers.
But the attorney questioned if forcing female employees to wear a bra was applicable in this case.
"If they simply require that female employees wear a bra but then they don't have a similar requirement for males, and they can't really justify that … then there is a risk that their policy's going to be deemed to be discriminatory."
Under British Columbia's discrimination law, it is illegal for employers:
'to discriminate against any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin'.
@GlobalBC @globalnews Logistically bras or the absence of does not impact health or work performance. That is my v… https://t.co/65cLHBMowf— Louisette Lanteigne (@Louisette Lanteigne)1529769211.0
McDonald's employee Kate Gosek, 19, agrees with Schell in that the dress code is "unnecessary." She too was harassed by her employers at a McDonald's in Selkirk, Manitoba, over refusing to wear a bra.
"She just told me that I should put on a bra because, McDonald's—we are a polite restaurant and no one needs to see that."
Schell's case sparked plenty of debates on Twitter.
@DunnMan77 @GlobalBC It's just discriminatory, woman shouldn't have to wear bras if they don't want to. As well as… https://t.co/RXhRVWUuNy— Mary Johnson (@Mary Johnson)1529685276.0
@DunnMan77 @GlobalBC Men do not have to wear underpants if they don't want to. As of right now there are no laws to… https://t.co/l8FuPVybWo— Mary Johnson (@Mary Johnson)1529686418.0
@GlobalBC Women have the right not to be forced to wear a bra Shaving & makeup also is a choice. If you want to do… https://t.co/Ybkj6PLDnD— Lozan (@Lozan)1529686156.0
@Lozan72 @GlobalBC I would completely understand her and your argument if we were talking about a potential law to… https://t.co/trRyNAubn4— Chris George (@Chris George)1529690293.0
@GlobalBC This story frustrates me. There's no dress code equivalent for men? Well if I saw the outline of a male s… https://t.co/5YbAvXKRcO— Molly Max (@Molly Max)1529705327.0
Schell is not alone in her disdain for bras.
@GlobalBC I personally HATE wearing a #bra absolutely hate it with passion and unashamed to admit it. I HATE BEING… https://t.co/GEi3LtxIDa— Lozan (@Lozan)1529686305.0
Schell is still waiting to hear from the Human Rights Commission about her claim.