Most workplaces have rules and regulations in place dictating employee grooming and dress. It is important for workers to understand their rights, in this case, so they can easily identify when they have been violated. Not all dress code rules are violations, but they can become problematic if they are deemed discriminatory or biased.
When are dress codes illegal?
Employers are well within their rights to establish a dress code and insist that all workers follow the codes they have established. In some cases, a dress code may be enacted to create a professional-looking workplace. In others, they may be necessary for employee safety, such as when workers are exposed to dangerous environments or toxic chemicals.
However, dress codes can be illegal in some instances. This is the case when you are the only person subjected to a dress code. This could indicate that an employer is behaving in a biased manner towards you, which is against the law. Additionally, your employer can not enact a dress code for a specific group of people in your office. This might be the case if an office has a requirement that females must wear certain attire, but males are allowed to wear whatever they please.
Can dress codes differ from group to group?
This is often acceptable. For example, an employer may allow women to wear their hair long but require that men cut theirs to a certain length. While variances are acceptable, it is not acceptable for one group to be faced with a greater burden by their dress code as compared to another.
In terms of grooming, employers can have certain standards for all workers. Most workplaces require a put-together appearance, even if formal attire is not required. This often entails basic grooming, like bathing and teeth brushing before work. Employers are allowed to enact grooming standards as long as they adhere to everyone equally.