A woman was promptly fired from her job at a car dealership after being told her outfit was too “inappropriate” for the work environment. Now, she’s fighting back by filing a human rights complaint, stating she’s become a victim of “female workplace discrimination”. So who’s in the right?
When Caitlin Brenier was hired at a Honda dealership in Edmonton, Alberta last year, she was familiar with the dress code and had no intention to violate it. However, the 20-year-old Canadian was terminated over an outfit that she says is not revealing or inappropriate for her position.
Most businesses have specific protocols for employees’ behavior and dress codes outlining acceptable clothing. Not everyone finds it easy to follow these guidelines, however, which can lead to consequences such as termination from their job if they are not careful.
According to Western Standard Magazine, Brenier revealed on social media that she had been fired from her car salesperson job at Alberta Honda for wearing an outfit consisting of a skin-tight long sleeve top and curve-hugging slacks—the same thing she wore when hired. She stated that she “was not going to be told by any male to cover up” just because he feels “uncomfortable.”
When she went to Human Resources (HR) to contest this order, instead of a meeting with management, she received a phone call informing her that her employment had been terminated.
Brenier has since filed a human rights complaint alleging gender discrimination in the workplace which resulted in her firing. The dealership issued a statement denying any discrimination occurred and claimed this wasn’t the first time Brenier violated policy.
She asserts that no warnings were given before letting her go nor did they evaluate her performance—they simply dismissed her without further explanation or discussion. Her lawyer admitted there likely wouldn’t be large settlement but insisted that Bernier has valid claim of gender discrimination based on how the company’s policy applied differently between men and women staff members.
What constitutes appropriate dress can be subjective depending on who you ask; while some may find it acceptable others might consider it unsuitable or inappropriate for work environments like customer service roles.