Workplace dress codes have been under the spotlight recently, after a story made the headlines about a female staff member being sent home without pay after refusing to wear heels.
The issue has been discussed in Parliament and it’s been decided that the law will remain the same, as the current legislation is considered adequate. However there will be some new workplace guidelines put in place in conjunction with the Government Equalities Office, Acas, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Health and Safety Executive.
The basics are that employers must avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy and make sure that if the job requires it, the dress code reaches health and safety standards.
Employers can have a policy that sets out a reasonable standard of dress and appearance for their organisation, but it should be be non-discriminatory and apply to both men and women equally. Standards can be different, for example a policy may state “business dress” for women and may also state that men “must wear a tie”.
Your HR department should be aware of the policy and make sure that your business is current and complying with the set standards. Your dress code should also reflect the practical demands of the role.
It’s always worth discussing your dress code policy with your staff, it can be done during a staff meeting or even by an anonymous survey. By getting input from your staff, you’ll know they’re fully on-board and you’re likely to get less problems further down the line.
You can get a full rundown of what’s expected here