Employee Dress Code Policy

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Many business owners and human resource (HR) professionals create dress codes for their employees. Companies create these policies to ensure their employees are dressed appropriately to maintain a proper company image and prevent distractions in the workplace. There are many benefits of implementing a dress code policy, as well as several types of dress codes.

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Setting specific dress codes for employees enables management teams to create an atmosphere of professionalism, prevents inappropriate clothing from being worn and gives employees clear-cut guidelines for what to wear. These types of guidelines can prevent expensive worker’s compensation issues, especially when implemented in hazardous workplaces such as warehouses and factories. They also can prevent harassment issues because many policies prevent employees from wearing provocative clothing.

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Business casual dress codes encompass a wide spectrum. Some business casual policies are one step above wearing jeans, while others are one step below professional. Business casual typically means khaki slacks and golf shirts for men, and it usually indicates blouses and slacks/skirts for women. Many companies require closed-toe shoes, and most ban jeans, flip-flops and tank tops. Some companies provide company-logo shirts or sweater sets to employees to ensure they have appropriate clothing.

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Business professional usually indicates that employees should wear business suits. Many companies do not require the actual suit jacket, but do not allow displayed bare arms. Dresses that are at least knee length are typically appropriate for women, and some companies even ban bare legs. Men are usually required to wear ties in business professional dress codes. Some companies require employees to wear full suits when meeting with clients or working with the public, but tend to be more lax on the policy when an employee is behind the scenes.

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Dress codes for warehouse employees typically are based on safety concerns. Most companies require steel-toed boots, durable pants and protective eye wear. When manufacturing food or sensitive products, hair nets and gloves usually are required. Many companies allow their workers to wear T-shirts, but they are not allowed to wear shirts with provocative writing or images. Most warehouses provide some type of uniform to eliminate issues with employee dress codes.

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There are many ways to ensure your employees are educated about a new dress code. Many companies send a company-wide memo, have a company-wide announcement meeting or require managers to meet with employees to discuss the new dress code policy. All dress codes should be clearly written in the employee handbook, and new employees should sign an agreement about them. There also should be guidelines about what happens if an employee breaks the dress code rules.

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