Winnipeg waitress Stephanie Lozinski was fired from her job as a waitress at an upscale Winnipeg restaurant after she shaved her head bald.
The restaurant in question is managed by Linh Bo. He also manages a second location for the same restaurant. Mr. Bo says there is a very clear dress code policy at his restaurant, which includes no visible tattoos and hair must be worn appropriately.
After shaving her head, she wore a wig or scarf while on the job, but that wasn't acceptable to her employer, who fired her.
Feeling that her human rights were violated, Ms. Lozinski tried to file a human rights complaint against Mr. Bo and his restaurant.
Being fired because you are not willing to dress appropriately for the job as defined by the employer should never be a human rights violation. In fact, employers should probably be afforded far more protection than they are under current Human Rights legislation.
The employer is in business to make money. This allows him (or her) to employ people. If they cannot turn a profit, they certainly won't be needing employees, will they.
Mr. Bo was perfectly within his rights to terminate Ms. Lozinski's employment. Thankfully the Manitoba Human Rights Commission came to the correct decision in refusing to hear her case. After all, she shaved her head herself. It was her choice. Her actions were what caused her to be fired, nobody elses.
MHRC ruled exactly as they should have ruled. One of the few times they've actually done something right, actually. But that goes for all the Human Rights commissions, doesn't it.
That being said, do I agree with Ms. Losinski's termination on humanitarian grounds?
Not for a second. Let me tell you why.
Ms. Lozinski's uncle has cancer. In fact he's dying from it. Chemo-therapy is no walk in the park. I don't care how tough you are. This is one cure that is actually worse than the disease it cures.
Ms. Losinski clearly loves her uncle. She shaved her head to show her support and solidarity for him.
In a day where personal vanity pretty much carries the day, especially amongst 20-something young women, it's pretty amazing that she would shave her head at all, no matter how good the reason.
But she did.
I think that shows a lot of character. I'm sure that's not lost on her uncle either, who I can only imagine is very proud of his young niece.
What I actually find disturbing about this case is how the restaurant which employed her handled this situation.
Instead of being proud of their young employee for showing such character in her willingness to publicly support her dying uncle, they chose instead to be ashamed of her.
That's why they fired her.
And that disgusts me.
They could have spun all sorts of unique (and profitable) promotions out of supporting her dedication to her uncle.
Instead they fired her.
She's actually far better off now than she was prior to being fired. She knows exactly what kind of character she has, and that her former employer doesn't share it.
That's a good thing to know, no matter how old you are. It's important to surround yourself with people who share your strongest character traits. Never more so than while in university.
I'm positive there is an employer in Winnipeg somewhere that will be proud to employ a young woman who is willing to show that kind of courage and integrity, the world be damned.
When they do, I'll happily encourage you all to pay that establishment a visit. That's the kind of establishment I would want to patronize.
I also guarantee you this: the University of Winnipeg, where she's currently studying, is a far better place for her being there.
Hopefully some of her character traits will rub off on the other students too.