Can a business have a dress code? 
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Can a business have a dress code? 

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Business Law

Employees may not want to follow a dress code that you set at your business. Some may even claim that it is a violation of their right to free speech. 

As an employer, you know that you want your staff to have a uniform look and you want everyone to seem professional. Are you allowed to enforce a dress code, or do your employees have a point that it is a violation of their rights to force them to dress a certain way?

Done correctly, a dress code is entirely legal

You have certainly seen other businesses with uniforms and dress codes in place, so the quick answer is that it is certainly legal to set up a dress code and enforce it. If an employee refuses to follow it, you can fire them for doing so.

The key is to make sure that the dress code is applied properly so that it isn’t a violation of anyone’s rights. For instance, if your dress code only applies to female workers, you could be accused of sex discrimination. If a hair code or grooming code only applies to Black employees, you could be accused of racial discrimination. 

For a dress code to hold up, it has to apply to everyone in the same way, it has to be fair to the employees based on their inherent traits and it needs to make reasonable accommodation for things like religious beliefs or disabilities. 

What if an employee threatens to sue?

Even when you try to do everything properly, an employee may still be displeased and threaten to sue your company. Be sure you are well aware of your legal options in a case like that so that you can protect your brand and everything you’ve built up.

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