Yaralla Sports Club changes it’s dress rules as of 1st August 2018.
Clubs have long enforced dress codes on patrons, whether they be members, guests or visitors to the club. Dress codes often take the form of a club by-law created by the management committee or board and enforced by management.
Dress codes mean different things for different clubs. For example, a surf club on the Gold Coast may have a much more relaxed dress code than an RSL or inner-city Brisbane club. Some clubs may strictly enforce their dress codes, while others may view it as more of a suggested guide as to acceptable dress standards.
One common theme though is that dress codes often stipulate the minimum dress standards that apply at different times of the day. Traditionally, what we also see are dress codes that impose differing standards on men and women. Common examples include:
- Men not being permitted to wear hats inside the club
- Men’s singlets (or sleeveless t-shirts) being prohibited inside the club, and
- Men’s open footwear being prohibited inside the club.
While the reasons for such rules may be long vested in the tradition of the Club or cultural standards, by having this distinction clubs may inadvertently be breaching Australia’s anti-discrimination laws by discriminating on the basis of gender.
While some people may consider this as political correctness gone mad, what I want to stress is that, like it or lump it, discrimination laws in Australia are here to stay.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently, because of a protected attribute (such as disability, gender, race etc.), than someone without the protected attribute in circumstances that are the same.
How is a rule like men not being able to wear singlets in a club discriminatory?
Specific to gender, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (the SDA), states that it is discriminatory to treat a person less favourably, in circumstances that are the same or are not materially different, than a person of a different sex.
The SDA then goes on to provide that it is unlawful for a person who provides goods or services, or makes facilities available, to discriminate against another person on the ground of that other person’s sex in the terms or conditions on which a person or entity provides a person with those goods or services or makes those facilities available.
Compliance with a club’s dress code is a term or condition of the supply of goods or services to a patron entering a club.
A prohibition on men wearing singlets is arguably less favourable to men than women who are permitted to wear singlets. This will also apply to other prohibitions such as footwear and hats.
The management Committee of Yaralla Sports Club have chosen to make changes to our dress policy upon receipt of advice and as such as of the 1st August 2018.
What’s been removed?
- Men’s singlets or sleeveless shirts
- Training apparel
You can see the dress code at any time here.