2, February 2003. What are the potential legal implications of a dress code? Let us first talk about some workplace dress code policies. Conflict and tension can arise when an employer’s dress code differs from the standards set out by the employee’s religion. It's legal for an employer to require all employees, including those with disabilities, to wear a uniform or follow a dress code (for example, that employees wear professional business attire). Dress codes and appearance at work are becoming a more salient issue in the workplace, prompted by high profile legal cases and uncertainties amongst employers and employees about what acceptable dress codes and appearance norms constitute. Employers should have fair and clear reasons for dress and appearance requirements especially where they are restricting or enforcing what an employee may wear. They portray the atmosphere and culture of that organization. Reasonable adjustments must be made for people with disabilities. Failure to apply the dress code across the board can lead to several legal concerns. Dress codes cannot be restrictive just because an employer doesn’t like a certain style. Generally speaking, employers are entitled to set the rules of the workplace. The dress code policy of a company details how employees are required to dress when they are at work. The dress code policy of a company details how employees are required to dress when they are at work. Employers need to ensure that they can justify their reasons for banning types of religious dress in the workplace. Please tell us why the information did not help. Requiring men to wear suits and women to wear skirts or dresses, while legal, is based on gender stereotypes. Every company will have a workplace dress code policy, even if the company says they don’t (ie a casual environment). It is important for employees to understand that their appearance at work is a direct representation of their company and makes a lasting impression — both positive and negative — on customers, company visitors, and other employees. Conflict and tension can arise when an employer’s dress code differs from the standards set out by the employee’s religion. Email address. Florida law does not expressly regulate private employers’ imposition of dress codes or personal appearance standards in the workplace. These might take the form of dress codes, uniform requirements, policies prohibiting visible tattoos or piercings, or grooming rules (such as that male employees must be clean-shaven or have short hair, or that female employees must … Why is the dress code required? Put another way, an employer in a union context may only impose requirements for employee dress and appearance for legitimate business reasons, such as workplace health and safety, or the company’s image. What should you know about dress codes in the workplace? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), businesses can establish a dress code that applies to all employees, or employees in a … By late June, the petition had amassed almost 150,000 signatures and had received a Government response: “Company dress codes must be reasonable and must make equivalent requirements for men and women. Many employers require their employees to follow a dress code. Some religions have rigid standards of dress. Many employers have policies that regulate employee appearance and dress. Copyright ©2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. Nicola Thorp claims to have asked her employer if they required men to wear high heels, and said that she was laughed at for the suggestion. It is up to the employer to decide which dress code is suitable and/or necessary in terms of safety at the workplace. In general, there can be dress code requirements that differ between genders. With 2020 (finally) coming to a close, we take a look at some of the key trends of the past year. She was asked to wear shoes with heels between 2 inches and 4 inches in height, and was sent home when she refused to do so. Business casual dress is the standard for this dress code. According to the law, however, dress codes can be different for men and women. Policies that impose different requirements on men and women. The dress code, however, must not be based on religion or gender, and must be enforced fairly and equally between both women and men to avoid charges of discrimination. This is true whether the policy discriminates explicitly or simply has a disparate impact on one group. Or, if your employer is concerned about neatness, you could offer to pull your hair back while at work. If you have any doubt about the acceptability of your attire, please speak in the first instance to your line manager. They portray the atmosphere and culture of that organization. A key attribute of a successful dress code policy is uniform enforcement. However, that is far from guaranteed. A dress code is a set of standards that companies develop to help provide their employees with guidance about what is appropriate to wear to work. The women and equalities committees and petitions committees produced a report on ‘High heels and workplace dress codes’. Workplace Dress Code Policies. Dress codes highlight an odd fact about sex discrimination cases: While laws prohibiting sex discrimination require employers to treat men and women equally, our society is still comfortable with the belief that there are fundamental cultural differences between the genders. Now, we must also address body art — … they are also entitled to implement workplace dress code policies. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. HR Software for growing businesses. The government equalities office published a report on dress codes and sex discrimination in May 2018. Despite this, office dress codes often demand ‘smart casual’ wear. Employers that create and enforce poorly drafted gender-based dress code policies assume the … Make running your HR easier, more efficient and secure. A workplace dress code might be considered reasonable because it helps customers to identify members of staff, or because it improves health and safety. While that authority may be limited by law, in most cases the authority to establish or to change required dress is yours. The typical office dress code is considered to be reasonable, as long as it applies to both men and women equally. They might require hair to be a natural colour, or might specifically mention hair (or facial hair) styles. “If men are required to wear a suit and tie, an employer can mandate that female employees dress in analogous type of business attire,” said Jeffrey Kimmel, an employment lawyer and partner at the national law … No tattoos or piercings. An employee can’t wear a necklace against the existing dress rules of a company, simply because it features a religious symbol. Employers can enforce dress codes and still comply with the law. Men and women must be treated equally, but don’t need to be subject to the exact same rules. For the most part these dress codes are legal as long as they are not discriminatory. Address probable areas of conflict and specific problem areas that have or are likely to occur in your particular business. Put another way, an employer in a union context may only impose requirements for employee dress and appearance for legitimate business reasons, such as workplace health and safety, or the company’s image. So, what exactly can employers ask of their workers? They must be ‘equivalent’, which means that you can’t expect women to wear formal black shoes whilst you allow men to work in their trainers, but that men and women don’t need to have exactly the same workplace dress code. In hospitals and other medical environments, employees can be asked not to wear jewellery below the elbow. Acceptable Clothing for Women. Dress codes are often essential. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. The formality of the workplace dress code is normally determined by the number and type of interactions employees have with customers or clients in the workplace. Shaving. Likewise, an employer may be able to enforce a dress code at work and still be in compliance with these anti-discrimination laws. Acceptable clothing for women includes lightweight sweaters such as turtlenecks, crew, V-neck, and cardigans. Because all casual clothing is not suitable for the office, these guidelines will help you determine what is appropriate to wear to work. If an employer has a dress code, it should modify it to avoid gender stereotypes and enforce it consistently. Don’t expect people to arrive the next day adhering to the new workplace dress code. 2. Workplace Dress Code Policy: The workplace dress codes are not just any code. This means that an employer can request that they’re covered or removed, with a valid business reason for doing so. Employers must be careful to offer reasonable accommodation or face a complaint of religious discrimination. regard to dress code and appearance in the workplace which should be appropriate to an employee’s specialism, be clean, non-threatening and not be overtly sexual. Law Firm’s Dress Codes. If you are a clothing retailer targeting young customers, your employees could have a much more flexible dress code, compared to the dress code that would be in place for a law firm. An employer will often have a dress code for a workplace or part of a workplace, especially if the employees are dealing directly with the public. So, if you want to have a written policy on this issue, the following is … Call us … The consulting process does not require you to give in to majority demand for salespeople to be allowed to wear football shirts, but you may find that employees come up with some very reasonable requests. You should give workers a reasonable amount of time to prepare for any changes. The law about workplace dress codes Employers can make ‘reasonable’ dress code demands. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Dress standards related to specific enterprise agreements or occupational health, safety and welfare are generally considered reasonable. Dress codes have permeated workspaces for decades and this will likely not change. You might also want to offer extra help to those that will struggle with the cost, perhaps by offering a small wage advance to cover the immediate expense. Thus, for an employer, it is very important to write down a specific set of guidelines in the form of a policy for the employees. Employee Net Promoter Score. If you already have a policy in place, remind employees of the policy before the return to the office. Every firm reserves the right to create a dress code for their lawyers to maintain the image and professionalism of the firm. They must give their employees time to meet those demands, but can dismiss members of staff that don’t follow workplace dress codes. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), religion, disability, genetic information, or age (if the employee is at least 40 years old). Many employers have policies that regulate employee appearance and dress. A policy requiring men to have short hair might discriminate against employees who religious beliefs prohibit cutting hair. Be prepared to meet the employer's objections about the reasons for the policy. Providing flexibility to employees is an effective way for employers to avoid running afoul of the Code. As the employer, you have the authority regulate dress in yourworkplace. Dress codes must apply to both men and women equally, although they may have different requirements. You can’t so easily argue that black high heels are essential, whilst black flat shoes are not appropriate. Moreover, the code indirectly (non-verbal) tells you about the standards and expectation of the employer. It might also discriminate against employees whose religious beliefs require beards. Without sacrificing workplace image, employers will benefit from implementing a dress code policy that has some flexibility built into it. Employers often set rules regarding how their employees are expected to dress in the workplace. This, again, is allowed as long as it isn’t discriminatory. Employees would be asked not to turn up to work in jogging pants and baseball caps, or t-shirts with offensive slogans or overly noticeable designs. Policies that are difficult for employees with particular disabilities to follow. All employees need to be made aware of the dress code once it’s been created. 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