As an employer, you want to create a dress code because you think of it almost as part of your branding. What your employees are wearing is part of what your customers see, and it creates the atmosphere in which they enjoy your business. You see this in many major stores, with employees wearing the same shirts and the same pants or even just the same color schemes.
You are allowed to create a dress code, and there’s nothing legally preventing you from doing so. Where you could run into trouble, however, is if some of your employees claim that the dress code is discriminatory. You absolutely want to make sure that you avoid this to avoid legal trouble.
Why would a dress code discriminate?
There are a few ways that a dress code can discriminate, with the most obvious being when it applies to one group and not another. Perhaps you tell the female workers that they’re allowed to dress as they wish, but the male workers have to follow a dress code. This is obviously discriminatory on the basis of gender.
But you also have to consider how a dress code might impact certain people in a different way. For instance, if someone has traditional outfits that they wear, that are very important to them culturally or religiously, you may not be able to have a dress code that bans those outfits. This is especially true when only a few employees dress that way to begin with, so your dress code doesn’t impact the majority of the workforce the same way that it impacts them.
If you’ve been accused of discrimination, whether it was intentional or not, you need to know how to legally protect yourself and your company.