The announcement by Goldman Sachs in Marc 2019 that suits are ties are optional made headlines all over the internet and news. The move was a surprise in the industry, as Goldman Sachs and other investment firms have long been known for its suited employees and formal business look.Dress codes at workplace provide a uniformity and a sense of professionalism irrespective of the formality. There are many things to consider when applying a dress code. Many people see clothing and outward appearance as expression of self, beliefs and lifestyle, which makes it a difficult thing to regulate. Read on to see what your business can and cannot legally regulate in your dress code.
Factors to consider
When setting a dress code, it’s important to think about your company’s identity and the image you want to put forward. For example, it may reflect a disconnect if a lawyer shows up in jeans and a T-shirt, but for a creative director at a startup, it would be in line with the company’s image.
You should also look at whether your employees’ work has safety considerations. If they work with machinery, banning jewelry and requiring closed-toe shoes might be appropriate. If they move around frequently, you may need to require pants for all employees.
Lastly, think about how a dress code might affect your workplace’s culture. Relaxing the rules may lead to increased collaboration and camaraderie, whereas requiring business formal may increase professionalism and decorum. Use your interpretation of the nature of your work and the cultural norms around it as your guide.
What business can regulate
It is actually under its legal arm to have rules regarding clothing, hair, tattoos, markup, piercings etc. But as long as these policies do not discriminate employess by gender, race or religion.
But the policies need to be appropriate for all employees that come form different religions or belief. The company cannot ban anything outright that discriminates against specific group such as Afro hairstyles, Sikhs turban & beard; etc.
The dress code enforced by employee will need to be clear and specific with what is permitted and what is not.
What you cannot regulate
Anything that cannot be regulated generally has to do with a class of people protected under federal law. A dress code cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, gender, pregnancy, religion, disability, genetic information or age.