My colleague, Peter Murphy, penned a great article in this week’s Connecticut Law Tribune discussing the uptick in cases challenging dress codes.
As these cases demonstrate, employers remain free to establish dress codes or appearance standards that are appropriate for the nature of their business — whether chinos and golf shirts at Best Buy or more risqué selections at casinos. Once dress codes or personal appearance policies are adopted, however, employers should enforce them in an even manner. In addition, employers should be prepared to have good-faith discussions with employees who raise the need for accommodations to these policies.
The article is actually a good followup to a September 2011 post of mine where I discussed the origins of one of the lawsuits that was discussed in Peter’s article.
For employers, dress codes can remain a tricky thing. Try to be too specific and you run the risk of creating a culture for employees where they are always looking over their shoulder. Keep it too vague, and inevitably, there will be employees who believe a sun dress, or cut-off denim shorts are appropriate.
Finding the “just right” dress code may be just the thing. If only it came in polka dots.