Latest: new government guidance on dress codes

The government has published its new guidance: Dress codes and sex discrimination – what you need to know. It covers: setting a workplace dress code – your responsibilities as an employer; reasonable adjustments for disabled employees; transgender staff and dress codes and religious symbols. 

The document points out that:

“It is best to avoid gender specific prescriptive requirements, for example the requirement to wear high heels. Any requirement to wear make-up, skirts, have manicured nails, certain hairstyles or specific types of hosiery is likely to be unlawful.”

But it uses words such as: ‘best to avoid’, ‘guidance’, ‘it is advisable’ and ‘it is good practice’ instead of stating exactly what employers can and can’t do, which may or may not make things clearer. What do you think? Please share your thoughts below.

Here’s the link to the new guidance.

On the subject …


Practical advice

In today’s workplace, in some sectors the idea of having any sort of dress code is considered archaic. However, giving employees a bit of direction can help them to avoid committing a major faux pas in relation to their work attire. Here, Laura Brown, Associate, and Helga Breen, Partner and Head of Employment London DWF LLP, help employers make some wise choices when it comes to what to wear. Read.


In April 2017, the Government announced it considered current legislation to be sufficient and that the dress code which had promoted the petition – Receptionist Nicola Thorpe made headlines in 2016 after allegedly being sent home from work for refusing to wear high heels – and review was already unlawful under these provisions. Here’s the background. Read.

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