Employers: avoid discrimination by talking to staff
Employers could be lining themselves up for a wave of sexual discrimination claims unless they properly communicate with their staff, according to one industry expert.
As the summer months roll in, employers who do not use “proper business motivations” to enforce office dress codes could run the risk of sexual discrimination cases, says XpertHR Employment Relations Editor Charlotte Wolff.
XpertHR’s latest employee dress report notes that 43% of all managers implement “more relaxed” rules on acceptable office attire at times of excessively hot – or cold – weather.
However, Ms Wolf warned that firms must not simply change the boundaries without consulting their members of staff, as communication and clarity are vital in this area to avoid any discrimination issues.
“If the employer decides to relax the code in particularly hot weather they should inform all staff – for example by email – and make it clear what the parameters are,” said Ms Wolff.
The research showed that 88% of employers that class their dress code as formal and 79% of those that class it as smart-casual either restrict or do not allow female staff to wear shorts.
However, when applied to male members of the workforce, these percentages change to 94 and 87 respectively, leaving bosses open to claims of sexual discrimination.