Dress codes seem like simple things. You establish rules for what your employees can and can’t wear in the office and if they violate that policy, there are consequences spelled out. However, dress codes can be slightly more complicated for employers. There may be some requirements that you haven’t considered or accommodations that you’re code does not address. Here are some of the things you need to consider when preparing your policy.
Casual, Business Casual, and Professional
It can be difficult to discern the subtle differences between types of dress codes. Casual is usually neat jeans and casual shirts. Professional is suits and ties. But business casual is somewhere in the middle and can be a problem to interpret by both employers and employees.
You are also able to determine that there are some clothing options that fit better in your environment for safety reasons. For example, long pants are better than shorts because of machinery. Hats may be required in a warehouse.
Religious and Racial Discrimination
It is important to note that the dress code needs to adhere to anti-discrimination employment laws. You can’t make it a condition of employment that someone not wear a symbol or traditional clothing item to their religion or culture.
It is also a concern that some people are unable to adhere to the dress code due to a disability. If this is the case, appropriate accommodations must be considered.
Standards for Women and Men
You also cannot make the standards different for me and women. Some forms of dress codes or their enforcement can be seen as sexual harassment, so be conscientious of this aspect.
How to Handle Violations
If an employee has violated the dress code, it is important how you handle it. The first is to discuss it with them to ensure that it wasn’t a simple mistake. For instance, maybe they’re wearing a t-shirt with an inappropriate slogan. Rather than asking them to go home, tell them to turn it inside out or wear a sweatshirt over it.
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