Last week saw an outsourcing firm update its policy on the requirement for women in certain roles to wear high heels after a massive media and public backlash against their former policy. Their policy was potentially open to challenge on the grounds of sex discrimination against women.
But not all companies insist on smart or office wear. Where protective clothing isn’t needed for safety reasons a lot of businesses these days have opted for a more casual dress code and don’t have anything formal written down. So why should they consider a dress code or policy?
The first reason is that my view of casual dress may be quite different to yours. Fashions change, as to people’s opinions of what’s acceptable dress and what isn’t, and not everyone’s opinions change at the same rate or in the same way. So capturing the reasoning behind a dress code policy as well as giving examples of appropriate clothing can go a long way towards avoiding misunderstandings and reducing the need for embarrassing conversations.
Some firms introduce a uniform for staff to promote a professional image to their clients, or engender a sense of unity among staff. What’s right for one organisation isn’t necessarily going to be right for another, but if you have a policy in place explaining your dress code then all employees know what to expect.
All policies should of course be reviewed to ensure that there’s no discrimination towards any particular group of employees. If you would like to talk about introducing a dress code policy or have a review of your current policy please get in touch.