Follow These Guidelines for Instituting a Fair, Effective Dress Code

Employers institute dress codes in the workplace for a variety of reasons, such as promoting a corporate image or adhering to health and safety standards.

But what may seem like a simple task—outlining and instituting a dress code—can actually be very difficult. As a manager or employer, you must ensure your workplace’s dress code is fair, effective and appropriate. Any lapse in judgement when drafting a dress code could qualify as discrimination. To avoid a slip-up, follow these guidelines:

• Avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy.
• Support your dress code decisions with health and safety reasons.
• Apply dress codes to men and women equally, although they may have different requirements.
• Allow disabled people to make reasonable adjustments to the dress code.

Consulting with your employees over a proposed dress code can help you avoid any disagreements and can help accustom employees to any changes. Making unilateral dress code decisions is sure to alienate employees, whereas seeking their feedback helps discern if anyone has special religious or health reasons for dressing differently, and it makes them more receptive to changes. Make sure your workplace uses fair and effective workplace policies.