Dress Codes in the Workplace

The Government Equalities Office has recently published new guidance on Dress Codes and Sex Discrimination

This serves as a reminder of what is a Dress Code and what should it include.

A dress code in a workplace will state what is appropriate for employees to wear to work.

A particular dress code can be included within an employee’s terms and conditions of employment and job description, for example if the employee has to wear a uniform, if they cannot wear items of jewellery for health and safety reasons or the requirement to wear certain clothing or equipment to protect themselves.

Dress codes for men and women do not have to be identical, but the standards should be equivalent.

It is best to avoid gender specific prescriptive requirements, for example the requirement to wear high heels. Any requirement to wear make-up, skirts, have manicured nails, certain hairstyles or specific types of hosiery is likely to be unlawful.

Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled people when dress codes are in place.

It should take into account religious dress, for example a dress code stating all women should wear a dress may affect Muslim women who wish to wear trousers,

A dress code can also: –

• Include a requirement to cover tattoos and remove certain piercings,
• Include a requirement to wear different clothing in different workplace environments, for example in customer facing or factory-based roles.
• Cover dress in the Summer months, such as whether staff can wear shorts and summer shoes, such as flip flops or sandals.
• May also prohibit the wearing of certain articles of clothing, such as shirts with loud/offensive graphics, provocative clothing, halter/tank tops or clothing that allows bare midriffs.

If you would like expert advice or support on introducing a Dress Code or Policy within your workplace, or any other HR Services, Hill HR Consultancy Limited can help you.