Gray said her ministry is currently reviewing Alberta’s labour legislation – including the Workers Compensation Act and the Employment Standards Code – and high heels will likely be part of the discussion. “We will be looking at Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) code in the coming months,” Gray said. “I am very interested in hearing what Albertans think about this topic.” The president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, an umbrella organization for unionized workers in Alberta that has roughly 175,000 members, said they will be submitting their recommendations to the government when the OHS code is reviewed. “It shouldn’t be allowed (to mandate high heels be worn at work), simple as that. That’s the position we will be taking formally with the government,” said Gil McGowan. “This is a big issue for women in the service sector, all across the county. We receive complaints on a regular basis from women who feel pressured into wearing high heels when they don’t want to or feel it’s not in their best interest, in terms of health and safety,” he said. Rebecca Sullivan, professor and coordinator of the women’s studies program at the University of Calgary, provides gender-diversity and equity training to workplaces – including addressing discriminatory dress codes. She said women should wear heels if they want to, but they shouldn't be a requirement for the job. “There is no work on the planet where high heels are necessary,” Sullivan said. “We need to start holding the employers and customers accountable for discriminatory and harassing behaviour towards women employees,” she said, pointing out that any practice which exposes an employee to an unnecessary health risk is already against the law.
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