Dress for Success



A well-written dress code and personal appearances policy clearly instructs employees on what type of business attire the company finds appropriate. Depending on the nature of the business enterprise or industry, employers may require employees to wear formal business attire every day. Some implement a more casual dress code on Fridays only, and others may allow business casual at all times.

In addition to deciding on the above guidelines, employers should consider these points when drafting a dress code policy:

  • Require all employees to dress in a neat and well-presented manner.
  • Instruct employees to report to work well-groomed, clean and dressed according to the requirements of the job position.
  • Include language on workplace safety equipment/clothing such as closed toe shoes for warehouse workers.
  • Prohibit excessive use of perfumes, colognes and other fragrances when working in close proximity with others.
  • Decide whether to issue a separate, more relaxed summer dress code policy.
  • Include a statement affirming the employer’s willingness to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely-held religious beliefs, observances or practices regarding workplace attire or grooming unless such accommodation creates undue hardship or a safety issue.
  • Adhere to applicable transgender and gender-identity laws by allowing employees to appear or dress in a manner consistent with the employee’s gender identity or gender expression.
  • Provide gender-neutral examples of appropriate versus inappropriate attire.
  • Consider requiring inappropriately-dressed employees to return home to change without pay, to the extent permitted by applicable law.

The employer should also train managers how to properly enforce the policy without making an employee uncomfortable, such as when discussing whether a female employee’s low-cut top is too revealing.

See also:

For further assistance, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

August 29, 2018

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