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The Dudes At This Ottawa Pub Put On Heels And Learned Why Sexist Dress Codes Suck

And they looked amazing, tbh.

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Some lads at Union Local 613 came to work Wednesday night in their finest dresses and heels, including co-owner Ivan Gedz.

Union Local 613 / Via Facebook: UnionLocal613

The CBC report that inspired Gedz looked at dress codes that require female servers to wear sexy clothing and high heels. These sorts of dress codes, which unfairly target cisgender women and transgender workers, violate Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Several of the women profiled brought their cases to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and in a recent follow-up, the commission commended the bravery of those women.

"I’ve worked 17 plus years in the restaurant industry and have heard various horror stories, including some from our staff here right now," said Gedz.

Union Local 613 / Via Facebook: UnionLocal613

At a previous job, Gedz said one of their current employees had to ask permission to switch her heels to flats to perform side duties like cleaning.

"Why the hell would you impose heels on someone who’s running around for eight hours?" said Gedz.

Union Local 613 doesn't have any dress code whatsoever and staff are welcome to wear whatever feels comfortable — including heels and low-cut tops.


"If you’re going to have a dress code, make it equal between the sexes," said Gedz. "What’s the point of forcing someone into a mini skirt other than to sexualize them?"

"When we started our restaurant it was part of our ethos that we challenge these bullshit and frankly illegal things that for some reason are still going on."

Union Local 613 / Via Facebook: UnionLocal613

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has also doubled down on their stance, releasing a new call to end sexualized workplace dress codes in honour of International Women's Day.

“Excellent customer service doesn’t have a cup size,” Kathy Laird, Executive Director of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, said in a statement. “I hope women will call us for legal help if cleavage is deemed an essential skill in their workplace.”

Union Local 613's "Working Women's Wednesday" event was completely voluntary, and four men ended up dressing up, much to the delight of customers.

Union Local 613 / Via Facebook: UnionLocal613

And Gedz admits they're still learning, too. In an initial Facebook post announcing the event, they referred to sexier outfits as "sleazy."

"It came across as slutshaming and that’s frickin’ stupid," said Gedz. "We deserve some criticism for that."

Gedz himself wore a little black dress and matching jewelry. It was also his first time in heels and he only made it an hour before having to take them off.

Gunna make sure we turn up the heat a just a titch...

"I started to lose feeling in the big toe on my left foot," he said.

Although he doesn't want to shame anyone's footwear choices he thinks heels are a "pretty archaic practice."

"Any dude that suggests that that’s acceptable attire or societal norms should put up or shut up, see how they feel."

Lauren Strapagiel is Managing Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Lauren Strapagiel at

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