What Are Employers’ Rights Regarding a Dress Code for Employees?
Dress codes are one of those sticky areas of employment law that employers typically prefer not to have to deal with. Many employees are uncomfortable with the idea of having to dress in a certain manner or adhere to certain guidelines, while attending office.
However, as an employer and as a business owner, it is your duty to make sure that your company presents a professional image, and well-dressed employees who are dressed for the part, help present that image to customers. Therefore, you are well within your rights as an employer to set down certain dress codes that must be applicable to all employees.
If you want to have a certain dress code in your office, make sure that it is set down in writing. These dress code guidelines should preferably be included in the employee’s handbook. Avoid general broad guidelines like “business casual.” Those terms can include a vast variety of clothing and attire. To make it easy for employees, make clear what exactly employees should wear to the office. If you do not want employees reporting to work in short skirts, make it clear that such clothes should be avoided. If you would like to “denim-proof “ your workplace, you’re free to do so. Make it clear that employees cannot report to work in jeans.
Orange County employment lawyers recommend that you don’t be too rigid with dress codes. Too much focus on professional attire can stifle employee morale, and actually cause resentment. Take into consideration the kind of attire that is suitable for your place of work, and formulate your dress code policies around this. 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.
Take disciplinary action when dress codes are violated. However, make sure that any such disciplinary action is equally applicable to all employees across the organization to avoid charges of discrimination. For example, if a young woman is going to be reprimanded for wearing a short skirt, a young man who arrives to the office wearing jeans, must also receive a similar reprimand. Discuss the dress code guidelines for your workplace with a Orange County employment lawyer.