The Current

Servers FEDUP with revealing dress codes, sexism at work

A group of University of Alberta students started tracking sexism in the hospitality sector. They launched a website for posting anonymous reviews of local restaurants... based less on food and drink, and more on how the servers are made to dress.
Establishments that require female servers to wear short skirts and low-cut tops may be liable for sexual discrimination if male servers are not required to wear similarly revealing attire. (Associated Press)
Listen27:30

A student project called FEDUP (Feminist Eatery Database - Undercover Project) has been receiving thousands of hits a day... and helped generate some very spirited discussions about what many see as sexist dress codes in the hospitality industry. 

We have to wear tight sexy clothing.- Anonymous server from Edmonton

Cristina Stasia is the Faculty Lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies with the University of Alberta, and helped students come up with FEDUP.

Well, aside from being sexist, some would say that enforcing a provocative dress code for female staff at restaurants, could just plain be bad company policy. Gillian MacGregor is the Human Relations Advisor with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.

Gillian MacGregor says some dress requirements are potentially dangerous for workers ... and that's bad business. Daniel Pugen is an employment lawyer, and a partner in the labour employment group at McCarthy Tetrault. 

Well, the sight of so-called "Breastaurants" may represent a new extreme.... but stringent dress codes for women on the job are hardly new. 

Linda Przybyszewski is an associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, and the author of, The Lost Art of Dress.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant, Josh Bloch, and Michael O'Halloran.