Dress codes at work

By Ross Gazette reporter in Business

What to wear for work is not just a question of choosing somethng you like, but recently employers rulings about what is acceptable have been discussed in parliament.

The Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee’s report into discriminatory dress codes calls for a review of the law, so Wye Valley employment lawyer Guy Hollebon, from Harrison Clark Rickerbys, has some advice for those who want their employees to be both safe and smart, without infringing their personal rights.

He said: “Many employers have a legitimate reason for applying a dress code. It may be that health and safety requires particular clothing to be worn or not worn, or it may be that the employer has a corporate image which it wishes to promote and protect by ensuring its employees are smartly dressed.

“Employers should ensure that the policy applies to all staff although it is acceptable to have different requirements under the policy, such as the requirement for a woman to wear ‘business dress’ compared to a specific direction that men should wear a tie.

“Requiring women to wear heels clearly doesn’t fit in with this approach. It would be different if the nature of the work required all staff to wear shoes with a reinforced toe cap for health and safety reasons.

“Particular care should be taken over items of clothing that allow workers to demonstrate or manifest their religious faith through their dress while at work. In addition, for workers who come within the definition of disabled under the Equality Act 2010, there may be a need to make reasonable adjustments to any dress code policy.

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