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Workplace Dress Code Laws

What is a dress code policy?

Personal appearance and hygiene play a big role in people’s everyday life including their professional image. People’s appearance normally reflects a person’s job, work setting and personal safety. Many times in the workplace management requires a dress code, and this dress code is the company’s policy to be followed by all employees. Read below where Experts have answered many questions regarding dress codes in the workplace.

Can an employer terminate an employee for not following a dress code when entering the workplace as a visitor?

As an “at will” employee, the employer has the option to terminate or discipline the employee for any reason or no reason at all. This allows employers to terminate employees to some extent without resulting in unlawful discrimination such as age, disability, gender, race, national origin, etc.

If someone was terminated for violation to the dress code, and they feel as if they haven’t violated the dress code, do they have any recourse?

There are no federal requirement involving dress codes. Dress codes are acceptable as long as they are not a discrimination against someone. Employers may require the employees to wear business attire. If the employees’ dress code did not interfere with their job, it could be subjected to employment violation, especially if other employees wore the same attire.

What can an employee do if they feel the dress code only applies to them?

If the employer is singling out the employee based on their age, gender, religion, national origin or religion this can be considered a hostile work environment and discrimination. They would need to report this activity to their Human Resource Department or, if they have already done this and nothing has changed, they would need to contact Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in their state and file a claim. The employee must go through their local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or they will lose all of their rights.

If a company has changed their dress code, and the employee is sent home for violation of the dress code, does the employer have to pay their wages for that day and the mileage?

If the employee is paid hourly and they are sent home for failing to follow the dress code, the employer is not required to pay the employee for the hours that they didn’t work. Also, as the employer they are not required to pay for the mileage, although they can offer, but they are not legally obligated.

If a company has a dress code for shoes, if a woman is pregnant and cannot fit into closed shoes can the employee request that the employee goes to maturity store and purchase shoes or but orthopedic shoes? Also, can the employee be disciplined for not doing this?

This is considered a reasonable accommodation request under the Americans with Disabilities Act and if they refuse to accommodate can be held as a violation under the pregnancy discrimination act. The employee will need a doctor’s note stating that the employee is allowed to wear shoes they help with the swelling, and if the employer refuses or tries to discipline them for this, they can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the employer discriminating again the pregnancy.

When dealing with dress codes, many times problems arise. If employees are considered “at will” employers have the right to terminate regarding violation of dress code policies. Experts with many years of experience in employment law can provide fast and affordable answers to many complex questions.
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