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Avoiding a discriminatory dress code in your business

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Civil Litigation |

As an employer, it is certainly not your goal to discriminate against any of your employees. You would never want them to get the idea that you’re doing so. You believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity and you try to treat everyone the way that they deserve.

At the same time, you do want to use a dress code in your place of business. You feel that this gives it a more professional appearance. If you’re worried that the dress code may come across as discriminatory to some of your employees, what can you do to prevent it?

Apply any dress code to everyone equally, and only when it makes sense

First and foremost, the dress code needs to apply to everyone in the same fashion. You can’t simply have a dress code for female employees and not have one for male employees, for instance. You can’t tell employees of a certain ethnic background or religion that they have to dress a specific way, while other employees are allowed to wear whatever they want.

At the same time, you need to really consider how the dress code is going to impact different groups. Even if you don’t mean to discriminate, it can appear that way.

For example, perhaps you have a small group of employees from a specific culture, and wearing certain headwear is a big part of this culture. If you simply say that no one is allowed to wear it, you may think this means that it applies to everyone the same way, but that specific group is obviously going to be impacted much more dramatically. You need to always consider the necessity of your rules and where accommodations need to be made.

Even when you try to do your best and make a fully inclusive dress code, you may face accusations of discrimination. You need to know what your legal options are.