A new dress code policy by Bier Markt has been scrapped, the CBC reports. This past October 5 the beer garden concept replaced gender-neutral uniforms at seven restaurants in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal with sexually suggestive outfits for female servers—a short, sleeveless blue dress, heels or boots, with no jackets, sweaters, or thick tights. Male servers were told they could don denim pants, and button-down shirts.
Tierney Angus, a server at a Bier Markt in Toronto, led the charge against the dress code policy: "I was upset that I had to squeeze my body into something that small. The material is almost bathing suit-like. It is very tight, very skimpy. I went up a size and my boyfriend commented he could see my tailbone through it." Angus divulged to reporter Rosa Marchitelli that after more than 40 female Bier Market employees filed complaints with parent company Cara Operations, they were sent this response: "The uniforms were based on our brand and industry standards and are not intended to sexualize team members or to discriminate."
Management insisted to the CBC that the uniforms were selected to reflect Bier Markt's "stylish image", but felt sufficiently pressured to reverse the company's stance on the dress code. The result: Bier Markt's mandated male uniform is now unisex. Probably a wise move on Cara's part, and not just to mitigate a PR disaster. Employment lawyer Barbara Green, whom Angus hired, told the CBC that the company's dress code may have run afoul of the Ontario Human Rights Code. "Women's bodies shouldn't be used to sell burgers and beer at restaurants. It's completely inappropriate."