Earlier this week, a woman on Facebook shared a picture of a friend’s bloodied feet after a shift in mandatory heels at a Joey Restaurant in Edmonton. The original post has been shared almost 5,000 times on Facebook since it went up this Wednesday, where it has generated an overwhelmingly strong response from female workers in the hospitality industry.
Women are contributing stories of their own about their experiences in the Canadian hospitality industry. One woman commented, “I went through the Joeys training – I quit after they told me what type of panties I could and could not wear.” Another woman shared, “I had a friend who managed there and was told “if you wouldn’t fu** them, don’t hire them.”
We all have heard word-of-mouth accounts about the controversial dress code that prevails for women working in restaurants and bars. We brush it off as part of the job. In Vancouver, Joey Restaurant Group is one of many casual fine dining chains with armies of youthful and stylish hostesses and waitresses. They know as much about how to pick the right accessory to go with the little black dress as they do running food. The employees are meant to look classy and add to the dining experience.
However, the viral Facebook post shows there is a side to the dress code arrangement that’s not talked about even though there is strong desire from workers on the floor to engage in dialogue. This online controversy is a real opportunity to address the pressure on women in hospitality to look a certain way or risk less shifts and unemployment.
It’s interesting Joey Restaurants has not immediately acknowledged the issue. Despite the fact that their corporate Facebook page is bombarded by grassroots activists demanding answers, all inquiries have been met with silence. The woman with bloodied feet was actively discouraged from changing into flats by her manager, and instructed to wear heels on her next shift.
What are your thoughts on strict dress codes in the hospitality industry? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image via m01229 / Flickr