Legal experts are cautioning Albertans to know their rights, especially around dress-code discrimination, after a woman says she was fired from a north Edmonton Honda dealership because of her outfit.
Caitlin Bernier has filed a human rights complaint against Alberta Honda after she claims she was told her long-sleeve crew neck and dress pants violated the company dress code and made her male colleagues uncomfortable.
“I was fired for wearing an ‘inappropriate outfit’ to work,” Bernier wrote in her complaint. “This was the same outfit I was hired in.”
Experts say Bernier’s dismissal is a case study in the constrained, complex rights of probationary workers, Alberta human rights law and the ongoing discrimination women face in male-dominated industries.
“I just feel super discriminated against over this whole thing,” said Bernier, who was a recent hire and enrolled in the company’s employee training program.
“I feel really wrongfully treated. I don’t deserve to lose my job because of a shirt.”
Management with Alberta Honda denies Bernier’s claims of discrimination.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, management said its office dress code is enforced equally and no employee would be fired for a single violation.
‘Upset and embarrassed’
Bernier, 20, said she was fired from the dealership at 9525 127th Ave. on Sept. 11 after a female colleague approached her in the office.
She said she was told her shirt was see-through, violated the company dress code and was making some male colleagues uncomfortable. She later told CBC News she had worn the same outfit to her job interview at the beginning of the month and was told it fit the store’s business-casual expectations.
Bernier said her female colleague told her to cover up with a sweater or go home. Instead, Bernier met immediately with an internal human resources representative.