How to get managers to enforce a dress code

A reader of the Forum section of our free HR Weekly e-letter posed this question, “Our managers are responsible for enforcing our dress code, but some of them don’t. What can we do?” Here’s how some HR professionals replied: 


“It’s impossible to enforce dress codes without supervisors’ cooperation. Supervisors should be disciplined when they choose to let this slide. Everyone has the same set of rules and these should be enforced universally.”  — B.J.

Friendly reminders

“I would send a friendly reminder of your dress code to your managers, letting them know that part of their responsibilities is to enforce company policy. Also, send out a memo reminding employees. Sometimes we need little reminders to keep us on track.”  — Jessica F.

Training … and tough love

“Don’t consider warnings until you resend the policy and train supervisors about the importance of enforcing your dress code policy. I worked at a place once where if the employee was not compliant on the dress code, they were sent home to change. Embarrassing if someone found out, but effective.”  — Dolly

Policy review

“Make sure the dress code isn’t so severe that it’s difficult for people (mainly women) to follow. I myself had to add a button to the top of dress shirts found in the women’s ‘Work/Career’ section of the local department store. What can be found in stores isn’t always in compliance with what we consider appropriate work wear.”  — Sarah

Book of Company Policies D

‘Unofficial’ dress codes

“What about supervisors who try to enforce a dress code that is NOT in the policies? Some supervisors have their own ‘unofficial’ dress codes. In the end, what happens is that what men wear isn’t even noticed, while women are judged daily by what is worn and have been called into meetings because of it.”  — T