We did it! As a direct result of our conversations with government, mandatory high heel requirements are no longer allowed in the workplace.
Until November 30, 2018 restaurants could require workers to wear high heels, and many of them did! Not all workers, mind you - just women.
This requirement isn’t just sexist, making demands of women workers it doesn’t make of their male counterparts. It literally hurts women.
Wearing high heels for extended periods of time is linked to a variety of health problems. According to the Canadian Federation of Podiatrists – the foot doctors – six per cent of Canadians suffer from foot injuries but women are four times as likely to have long-term problems with their foot health, and twice as likely to have pain and deformities. They say this is likely caused by women wearing high heels for long periods of time, and can be at least partially attributed to the requirement to wear high heels on the job.
High heels also cause more injuries on the job. And this isn’t hard to understand: providing hours of service while balancing on the tips of your toes isn’t exactly best practice for occupational health and safety.
Women shouldn’t be forced to wear high heels. It’s an affront to their dignity, a hazard to their health and safety, and a sexist anachronism. That’s why B.C. and Ontario have recently introduced legislation to ban mandatory high heels – and why Alberta recently followed suit.
We are happy to see the government has responded to our call to action on this important health and safety issue. Your employer can no longer force you to wear high heels as part of a dress code. But other challenges remain in the restaurant industry. Please see the "house tipping" section for additional information.