Points to Consider When Writing a Dress Code for Your Business
When creating a uniform or dress code policy for your business, you need to consider a number of elements. In addition to considering which uniforms are the safest, the most attractive to clients and the most affordable, you also have to consider how your employees will feel. Ideally, you need to take into account sensitive issues around religion, gender and culture.
Whether you are writing a uniform code or revising the one you already have, here are some points to consider:
If your employees need to wear a certain type of clothing for their religion, your dress code must allow them to do so. For instance, if a worker wears a hijab or needs to wear a skirt instead of trousers due to religious beliefs, you can only ban that type of clothing if you have a safety-based reason. Otherwise, your uniform policy has to adapt to your employees’ expressions of faith.
For instance, you have to allow workers to wear religious beards inspite of having a “clean-shaven” policy at your establishment. However, you can require employees to avoid religious coverings that cover their whole faces, and you can require them to show their faces for safety and identification purposes
Equal Dress Codes for Men and Women
When writing your dress code, you do not necessarily have to require men and women to wear the same outfits, like from Hot Cotton. However, you should make your dress codes as equal as possible for both genders. If you are imposing different expectations on men and women, you may open yourself to a discrimination lawsuit.
For instance, when one employer in New South Wales disciplined a male employee for wearing earrings, the courts judged the employer to be discriminatory as he allowed females to wear earrings. As a result, the employer was ordered to pay damages as well as lost wages to the defendant.
As an employer, it’s also important that you take into account your workers’ cultures when creating a dress code. If a workers wears a headdress, a sari or another type of costume as part of their cultural expression, you need to allow these adornments except in cases where they create danger. For example, a loose sari may be dangerous around certain types of machinery. However, you are still allowed to ask employees to cover tattoos or body piercings. That type of personal self-expression is not yet protected under law.