Apply dress code evenly among sexes, within reason — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Apply dress code evenly among sexes, within reason

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Q. Our company manufactures plastic tubing. Our general manager is requesting that men not wear sleeveless or tank-top shirts, due to sweat and appearance. He said women can wear them as long as their shirts are seamed. Is this legal? —C.M., Texas

A. Employees have challenged dress and grooming rules many times. Courts upheld a company's requirement that men wear ties and maintain short hair. But a court struck down an airline's policy permitting men to wear either glasses or contacts, but only allowed women to wear contacts.

From a legal perspective, your “no sleeveless shirts for men” policy is a close call. But even if your rule could withstand a court's scrutiny, I think it would be wise to revise it to avoid employee morale issues. (Note: In some cases, religious garb and grooming may be protected.)

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