When you started working at your place of employment, there was no dress code. The company has grown since then, though, and your boss says that he or she wants to put up a more professional appearance for customers. They tell you that they’re instituting a dress code and that you have to follow it or you’ll be fired.
You feel like this is unfair. Doesn’t it infringe on your rights to be told what you can and cannot wear? Isn’t it a violation of those rights to be threatened with the loss of a job if you don’t comply?
The dress code is legal if it is fairly applied
Overall, dress codes are legal and widely used. The mere presence of a dress code does not violate your rights. You don’t have to like it, and you’re free to look for another job, but it’s not illegal.
The key, from a legal perspective, is whether or not it is applied fairly to everyone. If it is not, that may be a violation of your rights. For instance, if all male workers are told they can wear whatever they want and female workers are given a dress code, that could be gender discrimination.
The dress code also can’t seek to target specific groups. For example, if all workers of a certain religion wear a specific item as part of their religion, telling all workers that they cannot wear that item may be religious discrimination. It has no impact on the workers who aren’t part of that religion, but it inhibits the rights of those who are.
If you do think your rights are being violated like this, be sure you know what options you have.