BC Human Rights Tribunal to Hear Complaint Against Shark Club

I read a thought-provoking letter to the editor in the Province newspaper earlier this week. The topic of the letter was the complaint that a group of young women have brought against the Richmond location of the Shark Club Bar & Grill around the type of clothing that the women are required to wear.

The writer of the letter essentially said that the women knew what the work environment (and required clothing) was like before they applied or ever started working there so they should just quit complaining and accept it as part of the job that they had accepted.

Funny, I remember the same argument was made when there was talk about banning smoking in bars and restaurants. People said that workers chose to work int hat environment and really should just shut up about it.

The fact of the matter in the smoking case is that WorkSafe BC is required to protect the health and safety of the workers in BC. Smoking and second-hand smoke cause illness so WorkSafe had to call for a ban on smoking in the workplace.

While requiring your employees to dress like whores is not a WorkSafe issue it is basis of the sexual discrimination complaint that has been started against Northland Properties Corporation (operator of the Shark Club). The BC Human Rights Tribunal will hear the complaint. It will be very interesting to see how this action proceeds.

What do you think? Do the people who choose to work in establishments that require them to dress or present themselves in particular ways forfeit their right to complain? We all know that when you walk into places like the Cactus Club, Shark Club or Sammy J Peppers that you are going to be greeted by a young female. Is it acceptable that they be required to dress in ultra short skirts and wear tops that reveal their breasts to the customers? Care to add your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “BC Human Rights Tribunal to Hear Complaint Against Shark Club

  1. WendiG

    Hate to out myself, but eons ago (the 60’s) I was required to wear an extremely short dress and high heels to work in a kind of rock ‘n roll cafe..since minidresses were what everyone wore anyway (Southern California) I was kinda relieved that I didn’t have to buy any “uniform” type clothing; after just three nights of abuse, including customers sticking their paws up my dress, I told the manager I was quitting, since he would do nothing about us gettting ‘handled’ by his patrons..he just laughed at me and told me I knew what the situation was when I got hired, and if I couldn’t take it, well, he would fire me…
    Needless to say, I never got paid, either..
    Apparently, in 40+ years, nothing has changed, except the law…let’s see if it gets enforced..anyone taking bets?

  2. Paul Steer

    Employer’s have a legal responsibility to provide a workplace that is free from harassment of all kinds, and sexual harassment in particular. By requiring women to dress in ways that they know will elicit a certain kind of response from some of their patrons, employers are putting their businesses and bank accounts at risk, and opening themselves up for a world of difficulty. At the time of hiring, I would hope women would ask their employers if they will protect them from harassment and sexual harassment during the course of their employment — and then hold them to it when they do not!

  3. theleftcoast.ca Post author

    The problem with Paul’s solution is that the employer would just laugh and go to the next candidate who they know is willing to be exploited. It is a very unfortunate situation in which the customers who patronize these places are complicit.

  4. kate dyson

    I hope the women are successful in their legal complaint. They should unionise and demand dress code change as part of their next collective agreement.

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