Legal News

Principal's Comments Discriminatory

An Ontario principal who told a pregnant teacher that the size of her breasts was distracting breached that province’s Human Rights Code, an arbitrator recently held.

The principal told the grievor, who was then seven months pregnant, that her clothing on a particular day breached the employer’s code of conduct, which stated that “Underwear cannot be shown and no revealing necklines”. The principal also told the grievor that the size of her breasts were “distracting to staff and students.”

The arbitrator held that the principal properly executed the duties of her office by deciding to speak to the grievor about the appropriateness of her outfit and that it was the principal’s role to enforce the code of conduct. However, the arbitrator also found that the remarks about the size of the grievor’s breasts amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex because they were based on the grievor’s attributes as a woman who was seven months pregnant.

The arbitrator concluded that the principal and her employer had breached the collective agreement and Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Greater Essex County District School Board v. Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, [2007] O.L.A.A. No. 224 (Herman)