Sexist restaurant dress codes: Should women have to wear this to work? (CBC Marketplace)

>>I’m just calling to see if you can tell me, first of all, if you’re hiring.>>I’m looking for a job.>>Ooh, they have a hostess job.>>Okay, a second job.>>Is there a dress code that I would have to follow.>>Yes so, we have a uniform.>>Apply now.>>I’m applying to four popular spots. Earl’s, Moxie’s, Jack Astor’s and Joey restaurants. We’re told your favourite restaurant chains have strict dress codes for their female staff. So we’re going in to find out. But first, I’m going to need to dress the part. (♪♪) Time to get a makeover. I’m told this is what it’s gonna take to get a job. From hair…>>Nice and big.>>To make-up.>>I need a night-out feel.>>Let’s get started. (♪♪) >>Pretty high fashion just for serving food. (♪♪) Time to go to work.>>I’m packing more than just my resume for these job interviews.>>There’s a microphone there.>>My outfit, it’s rigged with hidden cameras. (♪♪) First stop, Earl’s. With 57 locations across the country.>>Hi.>>We want to know what they’ll reveal about their dress codes.>>That’s quite a list. And Allison and Kaitlyn Ferri say it got much longer.>>I thought it was absurd.>>They’re sisters and restaurant insiders. Allison worked at an Earl’s location in Winnipeg in 2010.>>Depending on what shape you are, if you’re curvey, sporty, or thin, they would provide suggestions for looks.>>And ever heard of the fingertip rule?>>So basically, your skirt, best length for your skirt would be fingertip so you hold your arms straight out beside you and wherever your fingertips hit, that’s where your skirt wanted to fall so about six inches above my knee. Which was awful if you wanted to bend over which is part of being a server.>>Earl’s tells us their servers have to wear skirts but insist they shouldn’t be short.>>What reasons were you given for the dress code?>>They were trying to say it was trendy but it was — again it was sexual.>>Earl’s says they recommend a one-inch heel but say some women choose to wear higher heels. Allison says there was no choice. She felt forced to wear high heels on long shifts for four years and thinks it contributed to her chronic health problems.>>I have one foot that has a bone that’s permanently out of place. I’ve got hip joint, like all sorts of problems in my back, in my lower body that are all from wearing heels.>>What would you call it, if you could sum it up, what is it they’re doing?>>They’re sexualizing women, specifically women. And they’re selling sex which sounds terrible because I worked in it, but it’s the closest thing you can get to the adult industry without actually being in the adult industry.>>Were the dress code rules for your male colleagues as strict?>>They had a couple guidelines, again the button-down shirt, a tie, if that was the look they were going for at the time. Dress shoes. Black pants.>>M’hm, sounds like a double standard. My feet are starting to get sore. But this undercover job hunt isn’t over. Let’s hear what Jack Astor’s has to say.>>Jenn Hatcher reveals more about the dos and don’ts of Jack Aster’s dress code.>>We were told we needed to go to Lululemon and purchase a tennis skort and then we were told as women we would have to wear hair down, not pinned back off of our face in any way, and three out of five pieces of jewellery, so earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings or hair embellishment, yeah, and a wristwatch.>>It’s a pretty detailed list.>>I thought it was a joke. I was laughing, but it was serious.>>Two weeks in, she slips up and gets in trouble.>>He inspected my uniform and told me I had to go home to put on more jewellery.>>How did that make you feel?>>Not good. I didn’t think that was fair or right. My male colleagues there didn’t have to wear jewellery if they didn’t want to, so yeah, I just left.>>So in the summer of 2014, she walked out and never went back.>>There was a lot of pressure to wear make-up and look like you were going to the bar not coming from the bar was the motto.>>I find that very telling. (♪♪) >>Professor Joanne St. Louis teaches law at the University of Ottawa.>>You are sexualizing them to such a degree that they are to look inviting and appealing so that the garments and other things about them are to be commented on. You might as well put on a sign and say tolerating sexual harassment is part of this job component.>>She feels these dress code policies could be violating women’s human rights.>>The male employees are doing exactly the same tasks as the female employees and they are clearly hired, retained, promoted, and they do not need to sexualize their clothing. That’s the bottom line.>>Jack Astor’s is investigating Jenn’s complaint and says they give their employees the option to wear yoga pants and they treat all their employees with respect and dignity but Jenn says that’s not how she felt.>>Well, it just seems like some of these chain restaurants are entering a grey zone between like strip club and restaurant that serves food.>>And she’s not alone. For months, we hear from insiders. Former restaurant workers from across the country revealing how they felt forced to dress like they were on the menu. I witnessed a waitress get sent home because her skirt was too long. My body has been objectified and sexualized. I still feel the effects of being forced to work in heels for 6 to 15-hour shifts five days a week. Restaurants tell us they’re just serving you what you want. So we’re testing if that’s true. One worker, two very different outfits. One with heels and a skirt and the other with pants and flats. Do you really care what your server wears?>>To be honest, I don’t have a preference for either.>>Some aren’t shy about their preference to see a little skin.>>I prefer the short skirt.>>You prefer the short skirt.>>Versus the pants.>>But for the majority of you, it doesn’t really matter.>>It’s sort of about the food, not about what my server is wearing.>>Do you think what the waitress is wearing has any effect on how I feel.>>I’m more interested in the environment of the restaurant.>>Hidden cameras rolling, I’m off to my third interview at Moxie’s. Kaitlyn Ferri says it went beyond that when she waited tables at moxie’s in 2014.>>They give you this manual about this thick, and this manual dictates every aspect of your outfit down to the height of your heels, fitted tight black pants. You had to have an evening glamorous make-up look whether you were working day or nightshift.>>You know, you don’t want to be described as a sexual person unwillingly and that’s how I felt I had to be.>>Moxie’s says they updated their dress code guidelines last summer but when we go in and take a look, by choice or company policy, almost all the female staff are still wearing high heels and some are wearing short skirts, too. Finally, my last job interview, at Joey restaurants. Here, they’re pretty clear about the dress code policy.>>Minimum three-inch heels? Talk about high standards. Joey tells us this supervisor was misinformed. Three inches is actually the maximum. They also say they’ll follow up with all management teams to ensure they understand their dress code. Meantime, we’ve obtained this Joey manual. It spells out their dress code and most of the models appear to be wearing three-inch heels. Allison and Kaitlyn Ferri say at the restaurants they worked at, they had to follow the rules or else. What would happen if you didn’t follow the dress code?>>So once or twice you could sort of slip. After that, they start to question whether you really want to work in the restaurant and they would put it that way, do you really want to work here, is this really the place for you? And then it would basically start to reflect in your shifts and — >>What do you mean by that?>>So you would stop getting as many shifts.>>It’s really frustrating, I didn’t serve because I wanted to, I served because I needed the money. I needed to pay my rent. (♪♪).>>So do you think these restaurant chains are serving up sexism?>>It’s not necessary. That’s it.>>What would you say?>>It’s about the food not your wait staff.>>It’s 2016, it’s time for equality. Women everywhere are pushing for it, men should be pushing for it too. Let’s figure this out.>>None of the restaurants in our story would talk on camera but maybe they will listen to you. Tell them what you think about sexy dress codes. Fill out our restaurant comment card at cbc.ca/marketplace.>>Could speeders be right and the signs be wrong?>>We are being punished for safe behaviour. And that it what should stop.

Stephen Childs


  1. It's the business owner's decision. Women can decide if they want to work for him or not. i'd definitely eat at a place with a pretty waitress though. Women have the charm.
    Why should women be forced to cover up? Women should always have the choice.

  2. I WAS a very lucky man. At a young age I caught on to what strippers were really after. My money. That is why I never went to strip clubs. I find the restaurant industry to be the same thing. They prey on a man's primal instinct. I tip solely on quality of service. I almost study the way men chose grocery shopping check outs, Hair cutters, Waitresses, Gas stations, and every other service industry. A very high percentage of them make decisions based on how sexy the staff they will interact with is. If you are a man, ever notice how a woman that cut's your hair will rub her breasts on you continuously? It's intentional for sure. I never fell for it and only insist on the best service and product. I don't care if a 400 lb pimple face is giving it to me. The best service gets the best tip.

  3. As a former bartender I broke my arch on my foot due to having to wear heels for so many hours an my doctor said no more heels for the rest of your life now my hips over time have chronic pain popping cracking stiffness an back issues. Women should be able to wear suits like men to work. Besides a woman in a suit is also sexy I think.

    " Man I feel like a woman"

  4. These server make like 40-50+ dollars hours with tips. A job that requires no education. They are lucky to be working in those conditions for that much pay.

  5. I agree with having a dress code. They should give a few dress code options though.
    Examples: appropriate black dress with hair pinned back, no jewelry; black leggings, hair straightened, tight-fit black sleeved shirt, no jewelry ; black jeans, hair pinned back, white tank top, no jewelry. And every employee should have the choice of what outfit they want to wear. A man could wear the dress or a women. A women could wear the black jeans or non-binary. That is just my opinion. 🙂

  6. Here’s the problem I have here; No one is forcing you to work in any of these restaurants. They know the standards going in. If you don’t like it, work somewhere else. It isn’t complicated. It’d be one thing if women were being forced to work there and couldn’t quit. That’s not the case with these restaurants of course.

    If you don’t like it, quitting isn’t complicated. I find this entire report a gigantic waste of time.

  7. If people don't like it then don't work for them. What's next? Strippers complaining about having to show their breasts in a strip club?

  8. How this is even legal is beyond me. Sounds more like what you'd see in North Korea. Smart, yes, clean, yes, tidy, yes, uniform, yes. That's it.

  9. I agree, don't work at a restaurant that requires these standards if you don't feel comfortable. Now, do a report on how a dress code reflects tipping. That would be an interesting report.

  10. Its the womens choice.
    I wouldnt work there, but some might …
    Should get more money for that then…

  11. A bunch of these comments say "if you don't like it, don't work there" but what if customers chose to bring their business elsewhere?

  12. Now this promotes pop culture. I find pop culture very unattractive. I don't tend to agree with most people that are brainwashed glad that you at least can think for yourself not many people can do that in blue cities.

  13. Of course the old man wants the waitress to have a short skirt on😒

  14. Omg it’s like they’re treating it as school, in the UK you have to wear certain uniform and it’s very irritating when you have you’re own style and you want to express it. You should be allowed to to express yourself freely, I don’t like tight fit clothing/skirts because it feels as if it’s hugging my body and people would look. I’d rather just wear the long trousers and a top.

  15. If I were to design a waitress outfit:
    – Dakr blue skirt (must wear at least shorts underneath), or leggings, or overalls, or jeans.
    – Plain (no pictures or anything, if it has appropriate white pattern will probably be fine) black top, (no tank tops)
    – Any shoes except flip-flops/sandals
    – (optional) Keep your hair up to help keep hair out of food
    – (optional) Makeup doesn't matter
    – (optional) Any socks work as long as they have appropriate patterns and such
    – Name tag
    – (optional) Perfered to wear appropriate pins or buttons, (again nothing Innapropriet.) But not pressured to.
    Basically, nothing Innapropriet or such so any girls would not feel threatened.

  16. American 'women' are too prude. food is visual and so are girls lets enjoy both.

  17. All these girls are to sensitive please I worked at hooters twin peaks ojos locos ect. You dont like the uniform dont work there , if you dont have the confidence or willingness to walk around in certain attire dont work there.. its written in the application is given in the book

  18. These standards are nothing compared to what I had to wear as a cabana girl here in Oklahoma

  19. This video is a little silly. Yes, these jobs are demeaning. But it's the job. And if you don't like it, work somewhere else. You have the power to work somewhere that treats you with respect. No one is forcing anyone to work there. That one woman who had issues because she wore heels for so long…. She could have gotten a job that allows her to wear flats a long time ago.

  20. Everyone knows women bring in the,steady customers don't like it,don't work there

  21. Funny that some people out there dont need to have these kind of job to wear all those sexy stuff

  22. Of course, when you put people on camera they are going to say that they don't care, That's hardly a scientific study. Real studies have shown that men and women tip better when their waitress is dressed more attractively.

    As for men not "sexualizing" their attire, the societal norm for men's clothing is nonsexual. A tux isn't sexy, and evening gown with a low neckline is. A suit isn't sexy but a cocktail dress is. Surfer shorts aren't sexy but a bikini is. See the trend here? Normal clothing for women is designed to be sexy.

  23. That picture test was dumb… Some were with their partner there. Of course they're not going to answer they prefer the short skirt, and of course they do.

    The loose hair one is really dumb, like, that's a really bad standard.

    The high heels is actually dangerous for people's back.

  24. So- years ago, when I worked in the warehouse of a large company, they mandated that I wear steel toed boots, a hardhat, safety glasses, earplugs and a safety harness. I wasn't allowed to wear any jewelry,loose fitting clothing or long hair (that wasn't hidden). All this was hot, cumbersome and expensive (had to pay for your own boots,clothing and harness), but that was the job. You either dress for the work as mandated- or go work someplace else.

  25. I would have liked to see more comprehensive data. There may be something here, but it feels more anecdotal than scientific.

  26. Well here women doesnt have to work, because they are responsibilities of their Husbands or Fathers, so all they do is shopping of off the money they didnt earn, But its kinda good for them as they dont have to face such issues

  27. Yes this place takes too far by making regulation. That being said there are many "buts" to this whole thing. I have worked in restaurants in the US, Canada, and Hong Kong for years.
    If you don't want the job don't take it. Problem solved. As outrageous as it sounds I have seen far worst around the world.
    More important. This girls in Canada make probably $11 an hour plus %15 tips. In the USA waiters make less than minimum wage, usually between $2 – $3 an hour plus tips.
    A US waiter working in a restaurant like that makes easily $30,000 a year and $50,000 is not impossible. Now that is for a male. Females make a minimum of 20% than a male, and up to 50% more if its an attractive female, with sexy clothes, and flirty personality.

    –All of this can be found in Academic Research papers published by Cornell University—

    The point is. Why do we pay a waiter; a job that requires no professional skills; the same amount we pay a graduate engineer, lawyer, economist, etc?
    You don't want the job? Don't take it. If you do take the job, you are getting paid for the job.

    If we want to live in a world where this does not happen. (And I do want to live in that world) Then we have to change how we TIP not business regulation.

  28. Quit your complaining/bitching and get back to work.
    If you don't like it – there's the door.

  29. Every job has rules and dress codes. If you don’t like it then don’t work there. There are plenty of women who want the job and are willing to follow the rules . It’s that simple

  30. Seems like more complaining women want to be equal but the yet they want to cherry pick. You don't have to take the job.

  31. I totally agree with the professor lady. This is not only sexual harassment, but discrimination. It is criminal.

  32. There are actually some women who wear high heals just for fun. If they think that this dress code is sexist they most definitely could not handle working at Hooters, not for the faint of heart.

  33. One day we all will be neutered sexless robots, so enjoy the good times!

  34. omg this is why when I went to Moxies people were dressed like they were going to be hookering the same night. I was shocked.

  35. Well they actually have a choice, take the job or leave. I mean is wrong but all you have to do is quit!

  36. Give respect to women ,practically …using women for marketing purposes should be banned

  37. I would hire women because of their cost to a company. They aren't very good assets and many file false complaints. As a company my bottom line is money just like i would hire a man convicted of larceny its a burden on the company to hire incompetent, entitled, or untrustworthy employees.

  38. I just applied at a job ! I got hired. My interview was for one n half hours and it was allllllllllll about what I hadddddd to wear! I never showed up ! They specifically told me I had to wear heels and look like I was going out! I was embarrassed! I didn’t know what to do.

  39. If the restaurant has a dress code they should have to pay for it. If you don't like it as employee then why even work for them? I mean really come on.

  40. lol me and my 3 colleages were raising hell when our boss suggested letting us design a work t shirt.

  41. What a shame to have to follow employer rules. What a shame for this pampered spoiled brat generation.

  42. This is ridiculous. A business owner can set whatever rules they want for dress code.

  43. I completly agree with every part of the dress code. All women are objects and have to look the part. Men made these rules as well as the world. So women know your limits. If in doubt ask your male boss.

  44. All employment should be done through a single agency. All potential employees can dress as they wish–and be sent to the corresponding venue.

  45. I don't really have any issue with the dress codes that these restaurants are requiring with the BIG exception of heels!! Why the fk would you wanna do that to anyone that needs to be on their feet all day…you are deliberately trying to cause them physical harm/injury potentially permanently. That is unacceptable!

  46. There is a reason…resturants come and go, only those that have what the people want will remain.

  47. No. I don't want people's hair, male or female, hanging down around my food. Hands full of rings and bracelets are unhygienic. High heels on waitstaff are ridiculous.

  48. Wear shorts underneath.. i agree.. ladies should.. dress like sexy LADIES..

  49. Philadelphia… a few days ago. Went to a small, trendy restaurant on Passyunk Avenue in South Philly the other day with my beloved and our son. We were celebrating our 25th with a light, casual meal and then off to see The Specials. The food was a modern twist on dim sum, with a very short menu. Online reviews had talked the place up, and we're game for food adventures, always!
    That said, I was thrown by the collective style of pretty much the whole staff. Caszh hipster style has, at least in this restaurant, devolved into 'let's see what shirt in this pile is the least dirty'. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the clothes were clean, but allowing yourself to not care to the point that how you dress screams I DON'T CARE is bothersome. I make an effort to look good, every day, and if I'm going out, I amp that up at least a little. The collective schlub look just really threw me. Yes, my figure is less than Greek, and I don't expect the physical perfection of Maria Casares or Lupita Nyong'o as a requisite to anything, but the total surrender to not making an effort just dampened the whole experience. If being wait staff is your job, dress the way you would to really please yourself and those you love. Look in the mirror, and if you don't find a smile, dive back into your clothes and find something with some charm.
    You're worth it. Your customers are worth it.

  50. Are you kidding me heels? My feet killing me after a shift in my nonslip shoes I couldn’t imagine how servers do it in heels.

  51. Many men rate their food more highly when it is served by someone pretty – often before they have even tasted it, a study found. … The authors, led by Dr Lily Lin, adds: "When the server is attractive, good food tastes betterbut bad food tastes worse."Jun 21, 2018

    Provided by Google lol. I'd love this show to come to Alberta.

  52. if you don't want to wear their "uniform" then don't get employment there. simple, job done.

  53. I am sick and tired of people complaining about EVERYTHING. If you don't want to work somewhere that has a dress code, DON'T WORK THERE. She has issues from wearing heels while working for 4 years, go somewhere else. Women wear heels ALL the goddamn time. It's their restaurant. They can make their employees wear whatever they want. That dress code honestly wasn't even bad. AT ALL. If they're forcing you to wear heels yet it's in the dress book that you can wear flats, you literally don't have to wear heels. Damn.

  54. It's the businesses choice of what they want their image to be. If you don't want to be a part of it don't be. Whether you're an employee or customer. Its really not that hard.

  55. The ginger customer in the last part of the video is definitely a feminist though haha

  56. It’s not sexist, bc women and men wear different things.
    It depends on the values of the owner.
    If I was the owner, the skirts are too short and impractical.

  57. Dress code made by me for every waiter/waitress:
    Something to show you work there (ie. Specific color)
    No long jewelry (chokers are ok)
    Hair pulled back if applicable
    Nothing super revealing

  58. Just bend with your knees😂dont bend over with your back…no need to sexualize that unless you bend over a certain way
    Edit: The last interview: I needed money; I needed to pay rent…we all do honey but you should act more respectfully in a restaurant to other people than treat it like a dump for money😂

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