Does Your Business Need A Dress Code Policy?

Employees often express themselves and their unique personalities through their fashion and dress. However, certain workplace clothing may not always be appropriate, whether it be for safety or professional reasons. Because of this, a carefully drafted dress code policy that accounts for all potential safety and workplace concerns is crucial.

However, drafting an adequate dress code policy may not always be a simple process, as it must adhere to discrimination laws and clearly define what is considered appropriate. Your dress code policy should be designed to fulfill your business needs, apply some uniformity within your employee body and not infringe on your employee’s civil rights.

This blog provides some general considerations to keep in mind when drafting a dress code policy. For additional help, and to ensure your policy is thorough, it’s important to consult legal professionals as well as a qualified insurance broker.

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Best Practices to Consider for a Dress Code Policy

There are some special considerations that you must make when drafting and implementing a dress code policy at your organization. The following are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Take into account the unique safety needs of your workplace. Depending on the type of work your employees perform, there may be specific types of clothing employees are/are not expected to wear. In fact, OSHA sets guidelines that employers and industry associations must use to define what type of clothing provides adequate protection within specific job roles in their industry. In general, clothing must protect employees from chemical hazards, environmental hazards, radiological hazards and irritants. Some examples of safety-related considerations to keep in mind when drafting your policy include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Footwear—Shoes should be comfortable for the task at hand and nonslip to prevent trip and fall injuries. In more dangerous work areas, employees may need to wear steel-toed or chemical-resistant shoes.
    • Jewelry—In your policy, you may want to prohibit loose jewelry, particularly if employees work with or around machinery. This is because dangling necklaces or bracelets can easily get caught in machines, leading to potentially serious injuries.
    • Pants—To avoid trips and falls, pants should be relatively well fitting. Pants should not drag along the ground or be loose enough that they could get caught in workplace equipment.
    • Shirts—Shirts should be comfortable and appropriate for the jobs being performed. For instance, shirts may need to be more loose and flexible in workplaces where employees are lifting or performing other manual tasks that require mobility.
    • Headgear—Headgear like helmets and hats may be useful when it comes to protecting against the elements and workplace hazards.
  • Ensure policies have a basis in social customs and do not significantly differentiate the standards for men and women.
  • Explain the reasons for the policy to employees so that they understand that it has business-legitimate goals. These may include maintaining a corporate image for your organization, promoting a productive working environment for all employees and/or complying with health standards.
  • Use employee handbooks or newsletters to vocalize the policy, and explain the policy to potential employees during the interview process.
  • Apply the dress code fairly to all employees at your organization. This will prevent legal claims stating that the policy is implemented unfairly onto certain groups.
  • Make reasonable accommodations and exceptions, when necessary. Specifically, accommodate religious requests and requests for leniency based on disabilities.
  • Apply consistent discipline for dress code violations across all employees.
  • Be extremely specific about what type of dress is permitted.
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Questions to Ask After Drafting a Dress Code Policy

After drafting a dress code policy, you should assess it by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the policy create an undue burden on one gender over another?
  • Does the policy infringe on religious beliefs?
  • Does the policy infringe on cultural norms of a specific race or origin?
  • Do any covered disabilities limit employees from complying with the policy?
  • Is compliance with the policy more difficult for those of a certain age?

At the highest level, these questions must be asked to ensure you’re accounting for potential policy issues.

GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

Devising a properly articulated dress code policy will minimize your risk of legal action by employees and ensure that employees present themselves in a professional manner. For more assistance creating a dress code policy for your organization, contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today.

As one of the fastest growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more.

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business. Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive business insurance quote!