A woman is suing her former boss for a breach of human rights after he fired her for refusing to wear a bra to work.

Christina Schell, 25, stopped wearing a bra to her waitressing job at Osoyoos Golf Club in Canada about two years ago because she found them "horrible", she told CBC.

But the manager decided to change the dress code for women after customers complained about her being braless.

"It was absurd," she said. "Why do you get to dictate what's underneath my clothes?"


The new code stated: "Women must wear either a tank top or bra under their uniform shirt."

When she confronted the manager about the change he reportedly told her the change was for her own protection.

"I know what happens in golf clubs when alcohol's involved," he reportedly said.

She was fired after she refused to comply with the code, but she decided to raise the issue with the Human Rights Tribunal after she noticed that men didn't have the same dress code restrictions.

"It's gender-based and that's why it's a human rights issue," she said.

"I have nipples and so do the men."

Schell says bras are 'horrible' to wear. Photo / Getty
Schell says bras are 'horrible' to wear. Photo / Getty

Employment lawyer Nadia Zaman said employers could impose a gender-specific dress code if they can show there's a genuine occupational requirement, including safety.

However, Zaman questions how requiring an employee to wear a bra falls into that requirement.


"If they simply require that female employees wear a bra but then they don't have a similar requirement for males, and they can't really justify that … then there is a risk that their policy's going to be deemed to be discriminatory," Zaman said.

McDonald's cook Kate Gosek said she also struggled at work because of her choice not to wear a bra.

Gosek, 19, told CBC she had been confronted by multiple managers at the store who were displeased with her choice.

She said one female manager had gone as far as to poke her shoulder looking for a strap.

"She just told me that I should put on a bra because, McDonald's - we are a polite restaurant and no one needs to see that."

Gosek, who doesn't wear bras for comfort reasons, received an apology from two of her managers this week, with McDonald's Canada confirming there is no requirement for female employees to wear a bra.