You can’t legislate good taste. But that shouldn’t stop you from having and enforcing dress and grooming rules. Unless your company seeks to cultivate an alternative image, you can and should prohibit sloppy or distracting clothing and outrageous hairstyles and makeup (and ban outright clothing that creates a danger).
How you enforce those rules, however, can make the difference between needless litigation and a productive workplace.
Don’t joke around about an employee’s dress or style. Instead, call the person into a meeting and discuss the problem in private.
Recent case: Veronica Long worked as a records technician for a U.S. Coast Guard clinic. She sued for discrimination, claiming her supervisors hassled her about her dress and grooming.
Long told the court that one supervisor snapped a photo of her wearing one outfit, “looked her over” and complained that her outfits were not appropriate for work. Once a supervisor left a note on her desk telling her, “By the way, nice outfit today. Love the pinstripes. Looks sharp.”
The court dismissed her sex discrimination lawsuit, concluding that the comments weren’t severe enough to affect her performance or constitute sexual harassment. (Long v. Columbia-Arora Joint Venture, No. 06-06545, ND CA, 2007)
Advice: This entire lawsuit could have been avoided if the supervisors hadn’t snapped photos or left comments on Long’s desk. A better approach would have been to counsel her privately—with at least one witness—about the dress policy and expectations at the office.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/4230/enforce-dress-and-grooming-code-tactfully-to-avoid-trouble "
- DaimlerChrysler prevails on sexual harassment charges
- Firing employee who complained of harassment? Don't let alleged harasser play any role
- Beware expanding EEOC investigation after employee complains about discrimination
- Require medical exams if they're job-related
- Congress' employment law agenda: 7 key bills to watch closely