Employee showed up tattooed and pierced: Can we now implement a dress code? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Employee showed up tattooed and pierced: Can we now implement a dress code?

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Q. We are a small “mom and pop” restaurant that promotes a family atmosphere. Recently, one of our waitresses got a tattoo on her forearm and an eyebrow piercing. We do not have a formal dress code, but generally we do not want our employees to display tattoos, and we prefer limiting visible piercings to two in each ear. Because we think the waitress’s appearance is inappropriate for our restaurant, we are considering implementing this policy through a written dress code that we will distribute to all employees. Is our planned dress code legal?

Your waitress may not like your dress code, but it’s more than likely legal. Generally, employers are allowed to create dress codes for a variety of reasons.

When drafting your dress code, provide reasons for implementing it. Those can include promoting safety, projecting a particular image or fostering a productive work environment. Also, make sure that the dress code is applied uniformly to all employees, to avoid discrimination claims.

Keep in mind that you may have to accommodate religious beliefs (such as head coverings or beards) as long as doing so does not present an undue hardship or create safety concerns.

Regarding your recently inked and pierced waitress, tell her she can comply with your dress code by covering her tattoo and removing her eyebrow piercing while at work.

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