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The pros and cons of dress codes at work

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Business Law

You’re considering implementing a dress code at your company. On the one hand, you feel that dress codes instill a sense of professionalism and enhance productivity. On the other hand, you acknowledge that some employees may object to it.

Read the advantages and disadvantages of dress codes below.

Pros of dress codes

Dress codes have these perks:

  • They can work wonders in a customer-facing environment, especially as uniforms: Uniforms are a subset of dress codes that give employees a polished look, create brand awareness and instill trust in customers. Plus, they make it simple for workers to find what to wear when beginning their shifts.
  • A dress code can encourage fellowship and loyalty: Some employees feel a sense of pride in their work and want to express it by wearing something to identify with the company. You can accomplish this by having your employees don a blazer with a special logo representing the company.
  • They promote safety: Dress codes can protect employees from workplace hazards. For example, jewelry and pins can catch onto something and make employees inadvertently hurt themselves.

Cons of dress codes

A dress code also has its drawbacks:

  • Dress codes can discriminate against certain employees if you don’t impose them properly: A dress code has to apply to everyone fairly. For example, a dress code can’t ban religious head coverings or apply to one gender but not the other, nor can they be banned at all if there’s not a legitimate safety reason.
  • Some employees may find them too restrictive: According to a 2019 Randstad US survey, a third of employees would rather have a lax dress code than accept a $5,000 boost in their salaries. In addition, they feel so strongly about casual dress codes that they would quit or refuse a job offer that requires a conservative dress code.

Dress codes have benefits and downsides, but there’s nothing illegal about them as long as you apply them equally to all your employees. If you have questions, it helps to seek legal assistance.