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Here's how to safeguard your company when it comes to issues like hair and dress codes

by , 12 June 2014
On Tuesday, the High Court in Pretoria ordered the Tshwane Metro to reinstate two female recruits who were kicked out of a police training course for refusing to cut their hair.

According to The Times, Tshwane Metro ended its training agreement with Suzanne Terry and Elizna Rochelle on the 22nd of May because the pair ignored an order to cut their hair short.

Continue reading for more details on this case. Our experts will also tell you what you need to do to safeguard your company when it comes to issues like hair and dress codes.

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The case of the hair – here are the details

When the two student constables refused to cut their hair last year, their instructor Ramatsimele Ndlovu, (who has since been fired following a disciplinary hearing) forcibly cut their hair on the parade ground last December.

According to The Times, Tshwane Metro had argued that both male and female recruits were told on the 2nd of December, when training started, that those with long hair needed to cut it short and that men needed to shave off their beards.

The High Court didn't agree with this.

It ruled that it was irregular to end the training contract with the two women. It also made a cost order against Tshwane Metro.

But Tshwane Metro isn't alone.

Earlier this year, Taryn Strugnell, Managing Editor of the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service reported about 'the case of the dreadlocks.' In this case, the employer fired five male officers because they refused to cut off their dreadlocks. Click here to read about this case.

It's proof that employers still aren't sure how to handle issues like these. So what can you do?
 

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Avoid a Tshwane metro type situation by doing the following when it comes to issues like hair and dress codes

  • For starters, you need to put a dress code policy in place. 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.

  • Include hairstyles in your dress code policy and make sure all rules apply to both genders and not just males or females, says Strugnell.

  • Ensure that the requirement to, for example, have short hair is an inherent requirement of the job. You also need to ensure your employees are aware of your company's dress code policy.

There you have it. We hope this case have made it clear how to deal with issues like hair and dress codes.



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