Ottawa Woman Raises Human Rights Complaint Against Club For Objecting To Her Wearing Tank Top While Working Out

rose-nickelsThere is a human rights complaint in Ottawa, Canada after Jenna Vecchio was asked by a female employee of Movati Athletic club not to wear a tank top as too revealing. Vecchio has gone public with pictures to say that she was humiliated by all of the attention in the club over her wearing the tank top . . . which she has posted.

Vecchio said that the female employee spoke to her in front of other customers when she and her husband were working out. She described it as “humilitating” in being “singled out” due to her breast size.

The company is siding with its employee and said that it maintains a dress code. It added that “Following Ms. Vecchio’s own social media postings on this matter, we conducted a thorough investigation which included first-hand accounts from members and other staff, and a followup meeting with Jenna herself.” It concluded that she was not dressed in conformity with the policy. The company questioned whether the outfit in the picture is in fact the same outfit worn in the gym.

The posting would raise an interesting issue in any case. The company could question the degree of humiliation when the person posts the pictures for the general public. She can claim that she was trying to make the public aware and show that the outfit was not inappropriate. Putting aside the policy itself, there is also the question of whether such a dress code should be a matter of human rights charges.

What do you think?

Source: National Post

27 thoughts on “Ottawa Woman Raises Human Rights Complaint Against Club For Objecting To Her Wearing Tank Top While Working Out

  1. A dress code in a private company is not a human rights violation.

    Many gyms require that no skin touches the equipment, for health reasons, especially if they have had an outbreak of MRSA. Some require that the member must bring a towel, or buy one, to put down between them and their equipment when working out, to minimize sweat transfer.

    There could be two reasons to ban tank tops. They allow exposed skin and sweat to come into contact with equipment. Or there could be a modesty rule, where they do not want to become one of those meat market gyms where everyone is practically naked. Some women’s gyms require modest workout wear instead of sports bra only and short shorts, in order to create a low pressure, friendly atmosphere where women won’t feel intimidated getting into shape. Even though this one was clearly co-ed, it could have a modesty rule for the same reason – to encourage those who are not in shape to feel comfortable getting in shape.

    Have you ever laid down to bench press when the guy before you had his shirt off? Eeew. It’s all sweaty and slippery and it smells. Have you ever taken an older relative to a meat market gym where all the girls are wearing sports bras and teeny shorts, and then had them feel too out of place or intimidated to try it?

    If the gym claims that the tank top she wore in the picture was not the one she wore to the incident, then it might have been more revealing. This would pose a problem for either of the two possible motivations for the rule.

    I have had gym staff remind me of the towel rule, on the floor, when I forgot one soon after the rule was put in place. I was chagrined to have forgotten it, but it was no big deal. It was their job to tell everyone.

    Seriously. There are kids starving in Africa and this is going to be her cause? How much was her discomfort worth? Will she feel better if she puts the gym out of business wasting their money fighting her in court, so now no one gets to work out there?

  2. KC- thanks for the post. It is certainly interesting that she claims she was singled out because of her bra size. Although unless there were witnesses to the conversation, it might be difficult to prove.

    Even if the supervisor did tell her that large chested women need to cover up more, this would be a complaint to the owner. If he did not respond to her liking, she would have taken her business elsewhere, perhaps resorting to small claims to recover any gym membership fees she paid in advance.

    But a human rights violation is a bridge too far.

    All this talk about augmentation reminds me of the movie, Mean Girls where the mom got breast implants that were so hard that it was painful to be hugged by her. In my humble opinion, this woman’s implants are way too big for her petite body size. But to each her own.

  3. ” Putting aside the policy itself, there is also the question of whether such a dress code should be a matter of human rights charges.”

    Implementation of a dress code by a government agency might be a human rights issue.

    Just imagine if a future administration required that all women wear burkas in public, or in school, or when appearing in any legal proceeding.

    But it is hard for me to imagine how a dress code implemented by a business such as a gym or restaurant could be a human rights violation. On the contrary it would seem that individuals including owners of business have broad authority to determine who and under what circumstances they associate with others – including the circumstance of dress.

    So what, if any, are the limits on what dress a state can require?

    What limits are there on businesses regarding dress code?

    Aside from that, the garment in the photo seems pretty typical for wear at the gym.

  4. I suppose if there is a policy being imposed in an inconsistent manner there might be some issue. Not a “human rights” issue, but maybe something under Canadian Law.

    If her breasts are not real I’m a little uncertain about the “human rights” issue? Oh, I’m guessing they’re not even close to real.

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