Dress codes
Dress codes

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dress codes
  • Relevant statutory guidance
  • Discrimination issues
  • Tattoos and piercings
  • Business dress
  • Protective clothing and personal protective equipment
  • Headwear
  • Hair
  • Jewellery
  • Make-up
  • more

An employer may wish to implement a dress code for various reasons, such as:

  1. to ensure that employees are dressed smartly to convey a corporate image

  2. to ensure that a uniform is worn, and/or

  3. health and safety requirements

An employer has a wide degree of discretion over the terms it stipulates in its dress code. However, this discretion will be constrained in practical terms by:

  1. the need to ensure that equivalent standards are imposed on all employees and that there is a genuine business requirement behind them, in order to minimise the risk of successful discrimination claims, and

  2. reasons of good employee relations generally, as the employer will wish to ensure that the policy is broadly acceptable to the majority of its employees

This Practice Note examines:

  1. relevant statutory and non-statutory guidance on dress codes

  2. the discrimination issues and practical issues that may arise in relation to a dress code

  3. particular aspects of dress that an employer may wish to cover in its dress code

  4. implementing and enforcing a dress code

Relevant statutory guidance

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Equalities Act 2010 (EqA 2010) Statutory Code of Practice on Employment (EHRC Code) will need to be considered by employers in relation to dress codes because any relevant parts of the EHRC Code must be taken into account by an employment tribunal