What not to wear: Dress codes

July 11, 2016

After planning to write a blog on a summer ‘dress down’ policy I have just looked out the window to see grey clouds and rainfall! I am aware that at this very moment in time a dress code policy may not be on people’s mind as jumpers and coats are still a necessary addition to your working wardrobe. However, with many dress code stories in the news, such as the receptionist being sent home for not wearing heels and the temptation to wear cooler clothes when the temperature (eventually) decides to rise, this issue has been brought to our attention.

At HR180 our dress code is rather relaxed in comparison to other companies. Of course we still have to look presentable no matter how tempting it is to roll into work in your pyjamas. We dress up for client visits either to our offices or when we hold meetings at their premises – we ensure that our outfits match the dress code policy of the companies we are visiting.

Working in HR has made us very aware of the importance of a dress code policy in our clients’ workplaces. Whether your policy is in place to manage safety risks (dangers which might be caused by clothing or safety gear which needs to be worn) or to protect the company brand, employers need to consider whether their dress code approach is fit for purpose.

When drafting and implementing a dress code policy there are many things to consider:

  • Why does your company need a dress code? For example, is this health and safety related or used as a method of projecting the company image?
  • Does your company policy ensure that requirements are imposed equally on both genders? This is important to avoid any claims for gender discrimination.
  • Are your guidelines clear? If you want employees to adhere by the standards set the policy has to be clear, concise and thorough. This aims to avoid any confusion and disagreement about what is appropriate.
  • Is your dress code up to date? Employers should avoid outdated and unnecessary dress codes to ensure employees are comfortable and happy at work.
  • Is your policy free from discrimination? This can be related to many aspects of the equality act such religion or the younger workforce. Please review carefully whether restrictions on religious clothing such as crosses or hijabs are necessary, do they pose a health and safety hazard? Or are bans on tattoos and piercings outright essential? It may be a suggested that a better approach would be to place restrictions on visible tattoos, for example request that employees with tattoos on their arms wear a longer sleeved top.

We recommend that within a company there is an open dialogue regarding dress codes. This allows for solutions to be found and presents the opportunity for employers to update an outmoded dress code. It also can be used to explain to an employee why they need to adhere more closely to the standards in place.

As you can see there is a lot to consider and a dress code for YOUR company might be very different to another business. Yorkshire’s HR experts, HR180, are here to help! Let us create for you a tailor-made dress code policy. We will support you in developing and implementing an effective dress code – or do it for you! Please contact the HR180 Heroes, HR180, on 0113 287 8150.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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