A muggy hot British, summertime can be difficult for many small-business owners: A female member of staff shows up for work in the shortest of shorts, or a male employee arrives wearing an inappropriately worded T-shirt, all working in full view of customers or worse potential customers.
Violations of the company dress code aren’t confined to the summer months, but they tend to be more frequent than in colder months when everyone generally covers up. Employers who do not like an abundance of skin showing need their staff to be crystal clear about the company dress code.
Employers can require employees to wear certain kinds of clothes, and to ban other types from the workplace. Uniforms are required in some jobs. And some clothes can be forbidden because of safety issues.
Chances are, most employees do have a sense of how to dress for work. But having a company dress code will help you avoid problems or resolve them easily. Here is what to keep in mind: Dress codes are legal: Your female employees in a skimpy outfit may protest when you say it is inappropriate dress for work. But you have the law on your side.
The boss is also allowed to determine what kind of image the company is trying to project, choose apropriate workwear to prortray that and to require employees to conform with it.
The law does require you to create a dress code that is, to use a legalism, gender-neutral. That means that you’re telling both sexes to dress appropriately. And the law does require that you don’t discriminate against someone’s religious beliefs – for example, by banning turbans or dreadlocks that are worn for religious reasons.
Things to consider; What kind of company image do you want? The biggest concern that most business owners have in how employees dress is the impression that customers have of the company. Many will not want a receptionist to have exposed bra straps and a very short skirt. Or a sales associate in a funny T-shirt.
Companies may have different standards that depend on whether an employee meets with customers, Someone who does meet customers at a manufacturer may be in business casual clothes. Someone in the warehouse may be in jeans and a polo shirt. And someone on the assembly line may wear construction-type clothes. You will want to spell that out in your company dress code.
But even if your employees do not meet with customers, you can still require that they dress to meet your standards. But be careful – you may not like a employees’ style, but as long as he or she is wearing appropriate clothes for your workplace, you cannot ban the wardrobe choices, unless you provide a work uniform.