WORKPLACE / AUG. 21, 2013
version 2, draft 2

Workplace Attire

Workplace attire is dependent on the particular industry that you are working in and company you work for.

In most cases, it is the responsibility of management to ensure that employees are appropriately dressed in the workplace. The first step is to issue an HR manual to all employees that outlines every HR matter related to the company, including what individuals can and cannot wear in the workplace. Obtain a signed confirmation that states that all employees have read and agreed to the terms outlined in the HR document, including those related to workplace attire. Alternatively supervisors can communicate this information to staff during the orientation and evaluation period, or during their probation period.  

Workplace attire standards

Workplace attire must always be neat, clean and appropriate for the work being performed. Some companies provide uniforms, whilst others will specify the particular attire the employee is expected to work. Regardless of the particular specifications of the company, employees are expected to confirm with company policy at all times.

Addressing workplace attire problems

Supervisors are expected to communicate to their employees when they are dissatisfied with their attire, and there are many ways to communicate this information. In many cases, if a staff member arrives at work wearing inappropriate clothing, it is possible to send them home, ask them to change and return to work.

Alternatively, management can send a generic email to all employees, stating that they must review the workplace attire section of the HR manual and ensure that their attire is in full accordance with the specifications outlined in the manual.

On the other hand, the head of department can request a meeting with the specific individual or individuals in question, to review the situation in a private setting. It is the responsibility of management to deal with the situation professionally and discreetly, to ensure that the message is delivered at the minimal embarrassment of the individual.  

Guidelines

A company’s workplace attire guidelines must not interfere with a staff member’s observance of religious practices. Companies must strive to accommodate a staff member’s religious beliefs, unless this creates unwarranted difficulties. 

HR policy must also take into account tattoos and body piercings. If supervisors are concerned with the appearance of such items, this information must be acknowledged and addressed. It is always important to be discreet when dealing with such matters, as individuals can feel discriminated against if the situation is dealt with unprofessionally. 

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