A couple of weeks ago, the Government published new guidance on Dress Codes and Sex Discrimination – which you can read in full here.
Recently, dress codes in the workplace have caused quite a stir after one woman was sent home from her job for not wearing high heels. After much outrage, the government asked that employers reassess their dress code policies to ensure that they are ‘relevant and lawful’.
Though there is quite a lot of flexibility as to what you can put in your dress code, it is important that your policy is clear, fair and non-discriminatory.
You should also consider your reasons as to why you ask your employees to wear certain things in the workplace.
This latest guidance publication aims to help re-establish and clarify the law when it comes to workplace dress codes.
Some of the key points that you should take away from this guidance document are:
- Dress codes should not discriminate i.e. men and women can wear trousers
- Dress codes should address both men and women. Their requirements do not have to be identical but there should be equal imposition.
- Women must not be asked to dress provocatively as this could lead to harassment
- Avoid gender specific prescriptive requirements i.e. asking women to wear make-up but not asking the same of men
- It is best to consult with everyone, including your staff, before setting or revising a dress code
- Health and safety should also be considered when implementing a dress code
- Reasonable adjustments should be made for disable employees
- Transgender employees should be allowed to follow the dress code policy in a way that they feel matches their gender identity
- Dress codes should not prohibit religious symbols if they do not interfere with an employee’s work
It is important that you take some time to read these guidance document so that you clearly understand your responsibilities as an employer.
If you have any issues or concerns about this, then you can discuss it further with one of our professional HR consultants on 0845 2626 260.