I am the last to point any fingers! I, too, get excited to reach deep in my closet and pull out the cute summer dresses, the tank tops and my colorful collection of flip flops when the weather is warming up. However, with every company I have worked at or with as a client, not a year goes by that I don’t have to remind employees what is and isn’t appropriate to wear to the office. In fact, I just spoke with a business owner this week about this very concern.
Years ago, one of my employees wore a summer top to the office that appeared respectable when standing. However, even the slightest lean forward would provide the entire office a display of her thong underwear that were riding higher than the jeans she was wearing. To make a point of it, and trying to be funny, one of the male employees reached over while she was bending to get some files out of a lower level drawer and snapped her thong.
She had it coming, didn’t she?
Well, she reported the incident. It resulted in an internal investigation, a written warning for the male employee and a refresher training on Sexual Harassment for the entire office.
What can you do to avoid those uncomfortable and time consuming situations at the workplace? Get proactive on having a dress code in place, especially for the summer season.
Keep in mind, the appearance of your staff should support your culture and create a credible image in the mind of your customer.
If you decide to tackle the development your own policy. I strongly recommend having it reviewed by an HR expert or an attorney. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits any employer discrimination based on gender, race, or religion, these are obviously highly sensitive areas, so it’s best to ensure your policy has been reviewed appropriately to help avoid any legal issues down the road.