Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Staff must look the part

Shropshire company bosses should think carefully before imposing strict dress codes on their staff.

Lynsey Woolley, from our Employment Team, said: “Understandably companies want their employees to dress appropriately in the workplace, but the rules need to be fair. It’s vital that a dress code does not discriminate against any sector of the workforce by introducing rules that affect only men or only women.”

She said some dress codes may be dictated by health and safety rules (if employees needed to wear protective clothing), and others may be influenced by the professional image of the company.

“In these cases, you may decide that staff should not have any body piercings or tattoos on show, and that tops should not be low cut or expose the employee’s stomach. It’s entirely up to each individual company which rules they set, but if you’re going to have a definite policy, it will need to be enforced correctly.”

Lynsey said if a company was introducing a dress code for the first time, or was making significant changes to existing rules, staff consultation would be a good idea.

“You should also ensure your managers receive training and advice on how to implement the rules, so they are sensitive to any possible discrimination issues.

“The appearance of your staff reflects directly on the professional image of your company, and in today’s challenging economic times, it’s important to do all you can to stay ahead of the competition. Ensuring your employees look the part could well give you a head start in terms of securing that vital deal.”