Women told to wear skirts at B.C. Boston Pizza location, union says
VANCOUVER -- Women working at a Boston Pizza location in B.C.'s Lower Mainland were allegedly told they had to start wearing skirts to work starting last week – something the company is blaming on official policy being "miscommunicated."
The allegations were shared Monday by United Food and Commercial Workers 1518, which is currently in the middle of a union drive at the Boston Pizza location in New Westminster.
Union president Kim Novak told CTV News that staff were told the mandatory skirt policy was to take effect on March 8, which is also International Women's Day.
"It caused a lot of concern and alarm for the women working in that location. Concerns were raised with management, no changes happened," Novak said, adding that the incident prompted several workers to reach out to UFCW 1518.
"We reached out to the Boston Pizza, urging them to reverse the policy, and still no action was taken."
Previously, employees had been told the restaurant's policy only required that they wear black, Novak said.
CTV News reached a manager at the restaurant Monday, who directed questions to the company's media representative. A spokesperson issued a statement confirming that the corporate policy was and remains that employees are allowed an array of "appropriate styles and options" that are not limited to skirts or dresses.
"The full breadth of the Boston Pizza Dress Code & Grooming Policy was miscommunicated to staff during a recent change in franchise ownership of the Boston Pizza restaurant," the spokesperson said. "Steps are being taken to ensure staff are aware of the full policy going forward."
The company has not responded to follow-up questions on the timing of the miscommunication, and whether any further actions are being taken beyond informing staff of the actual policy.
Novak told CTV News employees at the location are taking a vote on unionization on Tuesday. She said UFCW decided to speak out about the concerns in order to let all restaurant industry workers know that dress code policies requiring skirts are "absolutely inappropriate" and don't have to be tolerated.
"There are a lot of human rights cases on this topic, and I think there's been a lot of precedent that highlights the fact that women should not be objectified at work in these kinds of policies," Novak said.