Does your employer’s dress code discriminate against you?

Many employers have a dress code, and no law prohibits them from establishing and implementing one.

Nevertheless, as the Houston Chronicle reports, your employer must have a valid business reason for its dress code. In addition, the code must apply to all employees equally and not discriminate against anyone in a protected class, such as religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, etc. In other words, your employer’s dress code must comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as regulations set forth by such federal agencies as the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,

Hair and jewelry restrictions

If you work around food or dangerous machinery, your employer can legitimately restrict the length of your hair and the types of jewelry you can wear while at work. The valid business reason here is your safety and that of the general public. However, your employer cannot require male employees to cut their hair if it allows female employees to simply cover theirs to keep it out of food or machinery.

Clothing restrictions

If you work for a company that requires uniforms, this is perfectly legal. Your employer can also require you to pay for your own uniforms. Your employer’s dress code can likewise prohibit you from wearing t-shirts and other clothing that contains inflammatory or otherwise offensive writings.

Body art restrictions

While your employer cannot require you to have your tattoos removed, its dress code can require you to wear clothing, such as long sleeves and long pants, that covers them, especially if other employees or customers could find them offensive.