Stacey Fearnall, a 36-year old waitress at Nathaniel’s
restaurant in Owen Sound, Ontario was fired after shaving her head to
raise money for cancer.

Having lost her father and supporting her cousin currently
battling the disease, Stacey Fearnall decided to help the fight and shave her
head for cancer.  In doing so, she raised
$2,700 for the local charity
Cops for Cancer.

Instead of praising her efforts, Nathaniels owner, Dan
Hilliard, was quick to send her home when the proud waitress walked into work
bald.  After refusing to wear a wig,
Fearnall was laid off for the summer – until her hair grows back. Fearnall considered the lay off tantamount to
her dismissal.

Hilliard claims that the restaurant upholds certain
standards with respect to how employees dress.

Fearnall may be eligible for a human rights complaint on the
basis of gender discrimination, particularly if it is acceptable for bald men
to work in the restaurant. Under human
rights legislation, differential treatment at work based on a number of defined
grounds, such as sex, age and race, among others, may amount to discrimination
under the Human Rights Code
. If discrimination is found to exist, the Commission, unlike the courts, have access to a broad
range of remedial measures – such as awarding public interest remedies,
reinstatement and damages. For a review
of those measures, see my recent column in the Metro News
.

For more: CBC.ca

Daniel A. Lublin is a Toronto Employment Lawyer specializing in the law of wrongful dismissal.  He can be reached at dan@toronto-employmentlawyer.com or visit www.toronto-employmentlawyer.com