Have you ever been in a situation in which your employer requested or required that you wear makeup? If so, you may wonder if your employer acted within the bounds of the law. The answer may be yes if you are a woman.

According to Chron.com, employers have the legal right to establish a dress code for employees. As unfair as it may seem, the dress code may include a requirement for female employees to wear makeup.

Multiple standards

Makeup can be very expensive, and applying it properly takes time. Some women have argued that it is not fair to require women to wear makeup without placing a similar burden on men. Thus far, however, such arguments have failed to persuade the court.

The law allows employers to establish dress codes setting parameters for appropriate dress and grooming, which includes requiring makeup for women. The only argument against a makeup policy likely to prove it unlawful is that it has a disparate adverse effect on a particular racial group.

Professional image

Your employer’s dress code may require you to wear makeup as part of maintaining a professional image. If you have a job that requires you to spend a lot of time interacting with the public, that may raise the requirement to wear makeup to the level of a bona fide occupational qualification. This means that failure to comply could result in adverse employment actions against you.

Retail associates, bartenders and waiters are examples of professions in which employers may have greater justification to require makeup of female employees. Incidentally, the same dress code that requires you to wear makeup on the job can also prohibit you from wearing too much of it at work.