Oakville teacher allowed to continue wearing large prosthetic breasts, school board says

By Lucas Casaletto

A teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School will be allowed to continue wearing large prosthetic breasts in class.

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has completed a dress code review after one transgender teacher received international attention.

In the report, the HDSB determined that implementing a dress code would be a liability to the board.

“While the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has acknowledged the ability of an employer to establish dress and grooming standards for the purposes of professional business, and health and safety reasons, the Tribunal has likewise acknowledged that an employer cannot establish standards which, in their application or administration, result in differential treatment on the basis of a protected ground,” Superintendent Sari Taha and Director of Education Curtis Ennis collectively wrote in the report.

“The Board has requested that the Director of Education provide information on the potential implications which may arise from a decision to implement a staff dress code. It is clear from the above analysis that the implementation of a formal staff dress code or grooming standards would likely expose the board to considerable liability.”

Oakville teacher

An image of an Oakville school teacher donning large prosthetic breasts at a shop class. Photo: Twitter.

A review was requested in early September after images of the teacher wearing the large prosthetic breasts widely circulated on social media.

Taha and Ennis stated that even if a dress code were to be implemented for non-discriminatory reasons, it would likely be found to be discriminatory.

“The Tribunal also notes that an employer will have to be prepared to establish that any sex-linked differences within its dress code are bona fide occupational requirements. Otherwise, they will more than likely be found to be discriminatory,” Taha and Ennis mentioned in the report.

“Finally, and most importantly, we note that if the employer desires to foster a culture of professionalism, respect, equity and inclusion, a truly reasonable and non-discriminatory dress code or grooming standards would most likely fail to yield the intended results.”

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