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Don't have a dress code policy in your workplace? Here's why you need one urgently

by , 11 October 2013
SA National Defence Union (Sandu) organiser Tim Flack was booted out of a portfolio committee meeting yesterday for wearing shorts, revealing his tattooed legs, iol reports. MPs suggested Flack didn't conform to Parliament's dress code. The matter has certainly raised questions about dress code in the workplace. Here's why you need to implement a dress code policy in your workplace.

According to iol, Flack, who is Sandu's Western Cape organiser, was told to leave the meeting after ANC MPs objected to him being there in a pair of knee-length beige shorts, a black golf shirt and flip-flops.

Flack who has since demanded an apology from the MPs is quoted as saying the whole incident was ridiculous and an 'absolute joke'.

'I'm discriminated against by ANC members who do not like my tattoos on my legs. It obviously frightens them or something,' he said.

The important thing to note here is that Flack was told he didn't conform to Parliament's dress code in spite of the fact that the National Assembly doesn't have a specific dress code for members of the public.

In a workplace environment, you have to define what an acceptable dress code is. If you don't, it can be difficult to tell your employees they're not dressed appropriately, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

How do you do this?

Develop a dress code policy.

A dress code policy ensures that everyone knows your company's dress code. And you can use it when one of your employees is dressed inappropriately and you need to take action.

Here's what to consider before you create your dress code policy

  • The culture of your company
  •  Is it fair to expect some employees to be more formally dressed than others?
  • What's inappropriate to wear? Keep in mind that inappropriate clothing falls into two categories:
  1. Clothing that looks untidy and unkempt, for instance, torn jeans, worn t-shirts or slip-slops.
  2. Clothing that's too revealing or more suited to evening wear.

The bottom line: You need to develop a dress code policy and define what's acceptable dress code in your workplace. If you don't, your employees won't know what's acceptable to wear at work and you won't have a basis for disciplining them for dressing inappropriately.

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