Fox & Feather patron Liam Lyons is upset that he favourite haunt isn't showing its national pride. The pub;s owners have banned staff from wearing red on Canada Day or sporting face paint and Canadian flags.
Credits: MICHAEL AUBRY/QMI AGENCY
Staff and patrons at the Fox and Feather in Ottawa are outraged after the pub's owners sent out a memo forbidding servers from celebrating Canada Day.
A memo posted in the staff room and kitchen tells servers in bold, underlined text "no red colors are permitted" and "no face painting or Canada flags shall be worn or carried" by any employees at the restaurant.
Pub manager Frank Eyamie was adversarial when asked about the policy.
"Well, we don't discuss the policies of any business with outsiders, so we'll just leave it at that," he said of the family business. "I don't like discussing the in-house policies, frankly it's none of your concern."
But a server at the Fox and Feather, who wished to remain anonymous, said staff were offended by the strict rules.
"Obviously, most of the girls were pretty upset. I thought it was pretty demeaning to basically say we can't bring a Canadian flag onto the property. That's pretty crazy," the server said.
In response, the staffer called the Human Rights Commission to complain, but she was brushed off because it didn't classify as a human rights issue.
She was told staff can't be fired for bringing in a Canadian flag, but it's not worth risking their jobs for.
The issue skirts the fine line of human rights claims. Management is allowed to dictate what staff can wear at work, but aren't allowed to snuff out a citizen's right to be Canadian.
"I'm just upset by the way they're treating it because they're saying it's just another day, why should we be making a fuss. But at the same time, then they shouldn't be open for business," said the employee. "They shouldn't be making money and profiting off people that are celebrating the holiday. It's very hypocritical."
But Eyamie said they have the right to set any policies they deem appropriate.
"We're not asking the public," he said. "Our policies do not affect the public."
Patrons at the Fox and Feather had a slightly different view Saturday.
"I think that's totally erroneous, it's crazy," said Liam Lyons, a regular. "Canada is the best country in the world, we should be celebrating it. I won't come here again if that's true."
Brittany Dale said pubs in the core of the capital should celebrate Canada's diversity.
"People come from all over the country to see the celebrations on Parliament Hill and Ottawa is full of different cultures. But I think we generally embrace Canada Day here, so it's a little off."