Dress codes are implemented in the workplace for a variety of reasons including corporate image and health and safety reasons. However employers must be wary when drafting their dress code to avoid any unlawful discrimination in the policy. In particular dress codes must apply to men and women equally and reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled people.

Key tips on drafting a dress code:

• A dress code should relate to the job and be reasonable in its nature;

• The dress code should apply to men and women equally but standards can be different, for example men can be required to wear a tie whereas women can be required to wear ‘business dress’;

• When drafting or updating a dress code an employer should always consider the reasoning behind it, for example if requesting that tattoos and body piercings are covered the employer should consider why this is necessary;

• Consulting with employees over a dress code can ensure that the code is deemed acceptable to staff;

• Employers should take into account employees who may dress in a certain way for religious reasons. In particular employers will have to justify the reasons for banning items that manifest religious faith and any restriction should be due to a real business or safety requirement;

If you would like any further information on this or you would like any assistance on drafting your dress code please contact Richard Monkcom, Partner, Charles Avens, Solicitor, or Rachel Mathieson, Trainee Solicitor, in Druces LLP’s Employment Team.

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