Is it legal for an employer to impose a dress code?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Employment Law

Employers and employees sometimes clash over the idea of dress codes. An employer will say that they want to set up a dress code so that the workplace has a uniform feel. The dress code can incorporate the branding elements, such as logos and color schemes, that give the company its identity.

Employees, on the other hand, may not want to have a specific dress code that they must follow. They would rather be free to express themselves by wearing whatever they would like. So, is it legal for employers to set up dress codes even if employees would rather be given more leeway to wear their chosen attire?

Dress codes must be set up correctly

First and foremost, yes, it is legal for an employer to use a dress code. Some employees may complain about it or be unhappy that they can’t wear other clothes, but this is not a violation of their rights. Some companies have basic dress codes describing a style – like business casual – whereas other companies have a distinct uniform that employees must wear.

The thing to remember is that the dress code has to be set up correctly. It has to be fair to everyone and cannot be discriminatory in nature. It needs to apply to all of the employees in the same fashion. If the dress code discriminates against women or people of a certain religious background, for example, then it may be illegal.

This means that both sides may disagree on how dress codes can be instituted or used. When these disagreements arise, or when new rules and regulations at the business are being instituted, it’s very important for employers to understand exactly what legal steps they need to take.



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