With summer upon us, this may be a good time to review your company’s dress and grooming policy. Each year about this time, a manager or two stops by my office to ask if shorts, cut-offs, flip flops, or other beach-appropriate clothing items are allowed. In some companies, informality is not only acceptable but actually encouraged. In others, strict guidelines apply. Whatever your organizational culture may dictate, consider the following legal implications of your dress code:

With these and related issues, don’t hesitate to obtain legal counsel when balancing employer and employee rights. One of the biggest mistakes employers make is unfailing enforcement of a dress and grooming policy without accommodation when appropriately requested. Likewise, you don’t have to give in to unreasonable demands. Know your rights and obligations.

Perhaps more important than any one specific policy are the ultimate goals of a dress and grooming standard in your organization. Do your employees present a professional image to your customers? Are safety and comfort considered when formalizing your dress and grooming policies? Can distraction be minimized by clear guidelines understood by all?

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