Continuing our series of HR Tips on dress codes, this week we will look at policies specific to females and their clothing.
Can my dress code require that females wear dresses, skirts, makeup, high heels, or other items typically worn by women?
As discussed in our recent HR Tip regarding transgender protections, any company policy that requires an employee to subscribe to gender stereotypes, including stereotypes of how people think a woman or man should look or dress, may violate Title VII protections against discrimination based on gender.
While companies may have specific standards that need to be addressed, a too-strict dress code can lead to decreased employee morale. In fact, Swiss bank UBS faced public ridicule and ultimately revised its policy when its 44-page dress code dictated the specific types of makeup women should wear, forbade onion breath and false fingernails, and even recommended what type of underwear should be worn.
Companies should consider alternative policies that do not require specific articles of gender-specific clothing. An example may be a policy that requires a generally well-groomed and professional appearance for employees who are interacting with the public.
For assistance in developing and enforcing dress code policies for your company, please cont act Nextep's HR Department.