Peter and I went to that meeting today to discuss the new handbook. The superintenant and all the other administrators were there. When we came to the article about bras, one of our beloved older male drivers said, "I don't want to have to wear a bra!" And there we had our opening. We stated our objections to being scrutinized to see if we would be wearing bras. We said the rule would be uninforcable, and should not just be re-worded, but deleted altogether. We brought up the fact that sexual Harrassment laws are iron clad now, and that that is what they will ultimately have to deal with if they pursue this unnecassary rule. We come back January 5th to see what they did with it. We are ready to continue the fight.
Good on you Michaela! WAy to stand up for yourself and others. How did they react to this? Was there anybody else (female) in the meeting who backed you up verbally or otherwise? Strength in numbers ya know
There were other females (bra'd) there, and I'm not sure if I heard them speak out. They backed my idea that the school district is getting to much into our faces with it's rule and control. But I don't know what they think of my anti bra mind. We havn't ever gotten into it.
Perhaps you should take a copy of Sydney Ross Singer's book "Dressed To Kill: The Link between Breast Cancer and Bras" and tell them that if a female driver comes down with breast cancer as a result of their bra requirement, they may be legally liable.
Nothing like a little legal threat to get a bureaucracy to take notice.
If you encounter anyone with a little medical knowledge, they'll say, "That book is pseudo-science of the worst kind. None of that stuff has been medically proved--what'll you be giving us next, laetrile?"
Seriously, freedom's great, but waving "Dressed to Kill" around isn't going to help your case. It'll just make you look like a fool.
When Louis Pasture proposed his germ theory he was attacked by the established medical community and I can give countless similar examples. Considering the fact that jurors have accepted far more outlandish claims then Singers (which after all, does have some fairly compelling statistical corollary), and considering that jurors have a history in liability disputes of siding with the victim, is the school board going to want to risk this?, or the thousands of dollars it will cost them in litigation just trying to prove Singer is wrong when to give in on this point would cost them nothing?
It's starting already. Before this new proposed handbook came about, and before we had our discussion at the committee meeting yesterday morning, no one, but no one ever said a word to me about being bra-less. Now... first thing this morning I walked in, got a half cup of coffee before my route, and one of the men that was at this meeting says, "I'm sure glad I don't have to wear a bra." My boss was sitting right there, and began to snicker. I said nothing. If I hear another word outside of our meetings I am going to tell this guy, or any other to "stop!" And warn him about the offense. I'm going to put it in writing so he can't ignore it, and next up, I'll file a E.O. complaint on the grounds of sexual harrassment, and hostile work invirnment. It's going to happen fast and I don't think they want it, but I have the law on my side. The word I'm not supposed to know is there is already a sexual harrassment case against my boss, and the school pending. (But I don't know this, shhh)
I'm not "sure". I can't prove that Singer and Grismaijer are wrong, but their stuff has been out for long enough now (and their recommendation is simple enough!) that I'd have expected a response if there was going to be one. Yes there have been medical breakthroughs that people laughed at initially, but there have also been plenty of really bad ideas which should have been laughed at but weren't.
But as a practical matter for Michaela, I say leave it alone. I can imagine being on whatever committee that makes this dress code, and she comes to talk to us. She talks about freedom to avoid uncomfortable clothing (I'm in favor) and she talks about the natural human body not being obscene (I'm in favor again) and then she talks about this unproved medical theory, and I start to think she's a nutcase, and all my sympathy disappears. I'd just want to get her out of there as fast as possible.
I agree. Anyone can write a book. What is needed is some sort of scientific study of the issue.
I remember about twenty years ago there was a man who claimed to be a scientist and that he was doing research on aging. He and his wife (coauthor of their books) took all sorts of nutritional supplements to retard aging, but every time I saw the guy on tv, he appeared to be getting older and fast.
JB, the thing you are forgetting is that you don't have to prove to a jury that a theory is valid, only that it may be valid, and that the defendant (the school board) was negligence by ignoring this possibility.
You are dealing with people who have relatives with cancer, who worry that they may get cancer- and no-one can say for sure what causes a particular case of cancer. Are they going to risk there being absolutely no validity to a bra/cancer link for the benefit of county bureaucrats?
Then I should never be on a jury, because for me there are very few grey areas. If someone says they got cancer because their job forced them to wear a bra, I will not believe it unless they can back it up with scientific studies or if I know from my own knowledge that bra-wearing can cause cancer. If the person who claims bra wearing caused their cancer but I know they also smoke tobacco, I have reason to believe they caused their own problem and just want someone else to blame.
If on the other hand, someone sues for discrimination because they were forced to wear a bra, I would be very sympathetic to their claim. Discrimination yes, but cancer is a big uncertainty.
Well remember it was highly disputed for years that cigarettes cause cancer. Cancer is such a complex long-latency disease that it is hard to prove cause-effect relationships either way. But so many agents have been found to cause cancer over the years that I think jurors are more incline to believe it's possible than not possible.
In any case, I think the key point here is that a person is being required to expose themselves to a "possible" carcinogen against their will. This in my mine puts the burden of proof that bra do NOT cause cancer on the people who are requiring them to be worn.
While it is not possible to prove at this point that bras cause cancer, I do not think it is possible to prove that they do not cause cancer either. Therefore, it should be up to the individual as to rather they wish to expose themselves to a agent which might even possibly cause cancer.
That would be a hard sell in court. One would have to prove a connection between bra-wearing and development of breast tissue abnormality and that this does not happen (or that it is much less frequent) in women who don't wear bras. Even then, it would only work if a woman never wore a bra until her job required her to wear one.
I wonder how men would feel if their employers told them they had to wear a jockstrap to work.
I probably won't bring up anything medical, because I personally don't have any recent documentation to back up my claim that going without bras relieved my cystic disease. However, my arguemnt will be simply that I don't believe the district has the right to tell us what to wear under our uniforms. If we wear our uniforms, which are required, how are they going to be able to tell what's under?
I agree with your strategy and that the medical angle is not the way to go. Does the dress code require men to wear t-shirts under their uniform shirt? You could wear a t-shirt or camisole under the shirt if men are required to wear an undershirt. You should not be required to wear anything different than what they wear.
I recall that at one place where I worked, I had to keep my hair short but women were not required to do so. I thought it was very unfair and my "long" hair was not really long, just longer than a UPS or Disney World haircut. Since it was a minimum wage job, I did not consider legal action. I applied for work at UPS once and was told that I would have to cut my hair shorter than it already was even though I only wanted to work at the facility, not as a driver. I was not hired and I think I was seen as a troublemaker for questioning the dress code.
Bras are considered as to be necessary and so must be worn.
It doesn't mention males or females, or any codes for either, which is why the older male driver said at the meeting that he didn't want to have to wear a bra.
The administrator who is working on the wording of this manual wanted to re-word that sentence about bras to read something like "under garments will be worn." I told him that the sentence should just be deleted altogether. That is when the superintendant chimed in with, "What is there is legal, and we can use it as is."
This is why I bring up the sexual harrassment issue. 1. They now feel free to talk to me about it, which I feel they are not, outside the meeting. 2. They will have to stare at my chest to see if I'm wearing said under garments or not, and I feel that is a violation.
I think you have a good chance of having this idiotic policy changed, if they think doing so will avoid legal hassles. I take it that when you are driving the bus, you look pretty much like the other drivers and you don't stand out for any reason.
We all look about the same in our burgandy work shirts and jeans. The uniform is new this year, and some really hate them, as I did at first, but if it keeps the boss from looking at my breasts, it's all good.
I could not care less if my boss looks at my breasts. But if I'm brafree, and this is causing him, or the school district to want to inforce a mandatory bra rule, then I would rather stay brafree, and safely hidden behind the rugged, pocketed work shirt fabric. Sort of flying under the radar, so to speak. I get what I want, my freedom, and nobody cares, cause nobody knows. I know it is kind of contradicting what I said aboce to Kath about pushing the envelope, but she is in a world of bras trying to break free, and I am in a world where I have been free for a long time, and now they are trying to take it away from me. So I'm just chillin' being naked in my clothes.
It seems like it could be that someone complained about me, doesn't it. But I'm not sure, it might just be coincedance. Last year We put together a new Bus Safety manual, and Admin. wanted a new employee handbook as well, so took handbooks from several area school districts to get the basics from and compile our own. The timing sure is weird though. Like I said in another post, no one has ever said anyhting to me ever about being brafree at work, so it is all weird.
I know, and at the risk of sounding like I think the world revolves around me, I wondered if my bra-free self was maybe the cause of the new uniforms. Like I said once before, forgive me if I repeat myself a lot, forty to fifty kids voices will do that, I am the only woman there going brafree, and they were maybe smart enough to know they couldn't really say anything about it to me without a dress code, and a sexual harrassment complaint. Who knows? So, viola! Uniforms...
Well if they were using other handbooks as guides that's probably where this dress stuff came from- since most employee handbooks do have mention of dress requirements so my guess is that these rules had nothing to do with you- though you may now be a victim of them.
Most uniform shirts I've seen are made of heavy opaque material- often with breast pockets- and I would think it would not be easy to tell what was being worn under them.
Michaela, I hate to say it but I wonder if it's a coincidence that they just started this uniform thing.
Do the school children wear uniforms and is this a public school system bus outfit or a company that is hired by a school district to provide bus service?
Do you really think they would go to the expense of supplying uniforms to every driver in the county because one woman chooses not to wear a bra? I don't believe it.
The fact is most bus drivers all over the country wear uniforms. It just looks more professional.
And it identifies a person as an certified employee- something important when dealing with children.
They aren't doing anything that most school systems haven't done already.
But anyone could walk into our transportation department and take our uniforms off the rack where they are left for us and do what they wanted with them. It would actually be so much better and more cost effective to have us wearing photo ID badges pinned to our jackets, like nurses and other hospital staff have to wear now. A one time cost to the district and a better way to insure the driver is who they claim to be.
Nope, it is a public school. The kids wear what they choose. We bus drivers work for the district, not a private contractor, though that is another suspision. We wonder if they district is trying to piss us all off so we'll quit, and they will be able to contract with the commercial school bus contractor in our area, that maintains its own fleet. (the district would no longer have to purchase new buses) It's just a theory some of us hold.
As to the uniforms, now we look just like the custodians, and maintenance, and kitchen people. Brought down low to our rightful place. Servants for the Administration.
There seems to be a major trend towards uniforms for EVERYBODY in schools- even the students. There are several public schools around here that now require students to wear uniforms and the one my friend's kids go to announced that they will start requiring them next year.
They say there are many advantages to uniforms- security, discipline, performance, equality and costs and that the idea is actually quite popular with parents (80% must approve and they usually do). Parents like it because uniforms are much cheaper than the designer clothes that kids want.
So it appear that we are becoming a ever-more regimented society- add to this all the surveillance that goes on now, and Orwell's "1984" is here- just a few years behind prediction.
That really sucks. I guess if they're making all people doing your job wear the new uni's, and all women wear bras, there's no grounds for discrimination at all. They'd probably tell you to get a new job if you don't like it. I guess equality has its boundries...I"m sure if men had large breasts like women they'd be told to wear a bra as well. Sadly, full equality will never fully exist I guess.
So long as nothing shows, nobody needs to know or even ponder whether female employees are wearing bras. It's nobody's business. I suppose they could require all the drivers to wear a t-shirt or similar shirt under their uniform shirt, but that should apply to all the drivers, not just men or women.
Just think about it, Michaela. They might require you to wear a bullet-proof vest under that work shirt
I agree, it may be that bad some day, but these work shirts seem pretty much bullet proof already. Stiff, hot, thick.. oh my, that sounds like something else completely different...sorry
As for t-shirts under the work shirts, I just don't know why. If they were thin work shirts, or a light color maybe, but these are heavy and dark. It all comes down to, what I feel, the school not having any business requiring. What we wear, or don't wear under our clothes.
Just a wild guess, but I wonder if one of the school girls got called on because she did not have a bra on, and she answerd back that if the bus drivers do not need to why should she have to.
Keep up the fight and before I would throw in the towel I would get a slip or note from your family doctor stating you was under his care for breast pain and or problems and his prescripion was for you to go with out a bra. or any wording you see fit.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND THE BEST OF LUCKJust a wild guess, but I wonder if one of the school girls got called on because she did not have a bra on, and she answered back that if the bus drivers do not need to why should she have to.
Keep up the fight and before I would throw in the towel I would get a slip or note from your family doctor stating you was under his care for breast pain and or problems and his prescription was for you to go with out a bra. or any wording you see fit.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND THE BEST OF LUCK
I know of one UPS guy locally who wore a small ring in one ear. I am sure this was not too long ago against the UPS rules for drivers. I don't know if this guy broke the rules and did what he wanted to do or if the rules were changed. It is also possible that enforcement is up to local managers, but he got away with it. I suspect that might happen in your case even if the rules are not changed for bus drivers. They will look the other way as in "if I don't see it, I don't care".
I recall when boys first began wearing earrings that there was a discussion at the local school board as to rather this should be prohibited. It was finally concluded that the school really didn't have the right to forbid boys from wearing earrings unless they forbid girls from wearing them. I found it strange that this same rationale doesn't apply to other things- like undergarments, which are even less obvious.
Yes, quite aside from the medical aspect, just the fact that women are being discriminated against by being required to wear something that men aren't seems a powerful argument. There have been many cases where courts have ruled that different rules can not be applied on the basis of gender. For example- excluding women from certain jobs involving toxic chemicals because of possible hazards to fetuses. This is a far more compelling argument than any reason to require bras- and yet the court ruled in favor of women on this point.
And... the uniform work shirts that we are all required to wear now are mens shirts. They clearly don't mind us dressing the same on the outside to drive a bus. Where do they get off trying to impose reqirements on what we wear underneath?
The fact is that no one can dismiss the possibility that they do indeed cause or facilitate abnormal tissue growth. The fact that the lymphatic system can be impaired or compromised may add some validity.
In anycase there is still the unknown, and to err on the side of caution is not beyond reason.
All law is based upon the question at hand and how it does, or does not apply to a given situation. This is how legal precedence is set.
The school's dress code is likely based upon your city's ordinances regarding "appropriate dress in the the workplpace" and the ever so popular obscenity laws which vary from state to state and from community to community. Then it was probably tweaked by the school board and run passed an attorney for good measure.
Familiarize yourself with past dress code issues and how they were handled and your state laws and your city's ordinances regarding dress codes in the workplace and obscenity.