When they hired Caitlin Brenier at one of the Honda dealerships in Edmonton, Alberta, she was completely aware of the company’s dress code and there was nothing that would indicate that she was going to violate it. However, that all changed when the 20-year-old Canadian woman was terminated over an outfit that she is claiming is in no way inappropriate or unsuitable for her position.
If you are considering a job involving customer service, most businesses have detailed protocols for the behavior and policies. One of these outlines would definitely be just what they consider to be acceptable and appropriate attire. Naturally, not everyone finds it easy to follow these protocols, and it may cost them their jobs if they are careless.
The Western Standard described the scene, indicating that Brenier had revealed on social media that she had been terminated from her job in car sales at Alberta Honda due to the same clothing that she had worn when she had been hired! The outfit was nothing more than a skin-tight top with a long-sleeve and curve-hugging slacks.
“I walked into work and sat at my desk where I was immediately met by a female staff member. She had a sweater in her hand and said ‘do you know your shirt is see through? You have to either put this sweater on or go home and change,’” she wrote on her Facebook page. “She then said that ‘the male managers are uncomfortable with what I was wearing and asked me too (sic) tell you to change or cover up.’ As you can see in the photos, my shirt is not see through. This even happened to be the EXACT outfit I wore the day I was interviewed and hired by the male management.”
Bernier explained that there was no way that she “was going to be told by any male to cover up” just due to the fact that they felt “uncomfortable”. As such, her next stop was to immediately go to the Human Resources Department to contest the order, according to CBC.
“I went to the HR lady where she agreed with me that my shirt was not see through and is fine for work. I was told that when the general manager (also male) got into work then we would have a meeting. I ended up going home and asked them to phone me when the GM was in to have a sit down meeting. Hours later at home I received a call from the GM and he said, ‘I heard you wore something inappropriate to work and were not following the dress code or instructions when you were told to change, so I am letting you go.’ Keep in mind that he never saw what I was wearing.”
Bernier alleged that the HR employee had allowed her to leave until the general manager was back in the office. However, she later received a phone call telling her that she was no longer employed at the dealership.
“I feel discriminated against being the only female salesperson and not being given an opportunity to expression my opinion to the GM or for him to even see what I was wearing. Working here I have experienced sexually comments from male staff, but my top ‘made the males uncomfortable.’ I am writing this post to show that FEMALE WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION is a real thing!”
Brenier has filed a human rights complaint against the dealership claiming that she was the victim of gender discrimination. However, the dealership remains steadfast that they did not discriminate against her, claiming that this wasn’t the first time that this lady had violated the policy.
“It’s only if an employee refuses to comply with the dress code when given an opportunity, if they continued to violate the dress code on multiple occasions or if there were other issues surrounding their performance that we would consider taking further action,” the statement reads. “We have reviewed the situation in question and are confident that our managers dealt with it appropriately given all of the circumstances involved.”
On the other hand, this lady is claiming that she was not given any warning whatsoever, and the dealership simply dismissed her without evaluating other aspects of her employment.
There is no question that there is a large gray area when it comes to gender dress codes in the workplace. This is probably one of those situations where we should reserve judgment and just wish both this lady and her former place of employment the best going forward.