Woman Was Fired For Refusing To Wear A Bra At Work—And Now She's Suing

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.

Schell said:

"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.

He stated:

"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?"

Brown added:

"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."

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.

Schell said:

"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.

Zaman stated:

"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'.

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.

Schell is not alone in her disdain for bras.

Schell is still waiting to hear from the Human Rights Commission about her claim.

H/T - GettyImages, Twitter, Indy100, CBC

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