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She’s violating the dress code! Now what?

by on
in Leaders & Managers,People Management

As the temperatures rise, so, too, will pant and skirt lengths, as employees begin dressing in their favorite “keeping-cool” summer attire.

Now it’s up to the manager to handle these infractions—if the company has a dress code.

Tips for that uncomfortable chat:

•    Talk in business terms. If the policy is well-written, the manager can easily point out which part of the policy the employee has violated, e.g., “Sandals create a safety hazard on the production.” Citing a legitimate business reason will make the manager’s request go down more easily for the employee.

•    Refrain from making disparaging remarks. A skirt that is too short should be described as “too revealing,” not “trashy.” Visible tattoos and piercings are not “weird” or “freaky,” but “inappropriate.”

•    Prepare for a rebuttal. If the em­­ployee complains about different re­­quire­­ments for different employees being unfair, the manager should explain that it’s legal to set different requirements for men and women, as long as they are applied consistently and do not create an undue burden on one gender.

•    Counter any challenges. Often, an employee will say, “The policy doesn’t say anything about what I’m wearing.”  The manager should respond: “The policy is intended as guidance only. The company cannot possibly list every clothing combination.” Then cite a legitimate business reason.

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