Does your employer have to review their dress code policy in hot weather?
Heatwave.....a rare occurrence in the UK but once again this year we are enjoying some hot weather to rival the Mediterranean. Whilst the hot weather brings a smile to our faces, spare a thought for those working in stuffy offices and factories.
Some employers have dress codes based on their industry and the nature of the profession. During hot spells, some employers may relax their dress codes and allow shorts, t-shirts and even flip flops
Does your dress code discriminate?
Whatever the dress codes, they should apply equally to men and women. Care should be taken considering appropriate dress codes. Telling a woman she can wear shorts and a t-shirt, and not allowing a man to the wear the same may amount to direct sex discrimination under the Equality Act.
Is the dress code unprofessional?
Employers may consider that their dress code is required to maintain professionalism i.e. for client meetings. According to Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992, temperature in the workplace should be reasonable without the need for special clothing. With an increase in air conditioning, desk fans and cold water dispensers, workplaces may be able to tackle the heat issues faced by employees without the need of implementing a dress code policy.
Is 'too hot' just an opinion?
Irrespective of the temperature, people often feel that the weather is either too hot or too cold. With regards to a dress code in the summer months, this may be relaxed, but some rules will still need to be in place. However, it is important that the rules however relaxed apply to all staff equally and are not discriminatory.