Welcome to Simon Paschal Says. I’m Paul Simon, an employment lawyer here at Simon Paschal, PLLC. And in today’s episode of Simon Paschal Says, we’re going to talk about employer dress codes. Now, employer dress codes are something we normally find an employee handbook. In Texas, there are generally no restrictions on what an employer can or cannot have in a dress code. And because of this, we see a wide range of dress codes from requiring uniforms to only being allowed to wear certain colors. It’s also becoming more and more common for dress codes to establish the relaxed vibe of an office by saying blue jeans, T-shirts are encouraged or blue jean Friday. But it’s something that we want to see in the handbook so that the employees understand what their obligations are.
From a legal standpoint now, there are a few issues to consider when establishing your dress code. While in some situations an employer may require all workers to follow a uniform dress code, even if the dress code conflicts with some workers’ ethnic beliefs or practices, a dress code cannot treat some employees less favorably, though, because of their national origin. For example, a dress code that prohibits certain kinds of ethnic dress, such as traditional African or East Indian attire, but otherwise permits casual dress would treat some employees less favorably because of their national origin.
Also, employers should be mindful of potential religious beliefs. If the dress code conflicts with an employee’s religious practices and the employee requests an accommodation, the employer must modify the dress code or permit an exception to the dress code unless doing so would result in undue hardship. Similarly, if an employee requests an accommodation to the dress code because of his or her disability, the employer must modify the dress code or permit an exception to the dress code, again, unless doing so would result in an undue hardship.
So that’s your little tip of the week this week. Tune in next time for Simon Paschal Says.