Sat, July 24, 2004

Dad dresses to clothes loophole


A SINGLE father from Montreal has taken to wearing a dress to work to fight against what he says is discrimination over his employer's retirement policies. After 26 years of employment as a city food inspector, Patrick Le Lann says he just wants to retire to spend more time with his two young children -- even if it means wearing a dress.

"This is just a symbolic way of expressing the fact I'm discriminated against," Le Lann, 50, said from his home in Blainville, north of Montreal.

Le Lann was photographed by Le Journal de Montreal Thursday wearing a beige sleeveless sun dress he purchased for $12 from a discount store. Television newscasts showed Le Lann holding up his dress while he gave interviews.

Le Lann has complained that women who were hired at the same time as him are able to retire with full pensions after just 25 years of service, seven less than for men. The minimum years of service for men was later reduced to 30.

Contracts were changed in 1983 to remove any distinction between the gender of employees. The clause was grandfathered for women hired before May 1, 1983.

"The only reason I have to continue for five more years is because I'm a man," he said.