Dress Code Policy Purpose
A dress code is a written policy that provides guidelines and restrictions for what can and cannot be worn by employees while they perform their duties. A dress code policy often pertains to both clothing and personal grooming. The purpose of a dress code is to ensure that employees can work comfortably while projecting a professional image to customers and prospects. Written dress code policies can also protect employees from discrimination on the basis of religion, disability, gender, or other prohibited grounds under human rights legislation.
Do you need a dress code policy?
Not all companies need a dress code policy. If you work in a casual, remote, or non-customer-facing office, a written dress code may be unnecessarily restrictive. To determine what kind of a dress code, if any, is needed for your organization, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your employees require specific attire to safely and effectively do their jobs?
- Do different roles require different dress codes for image, comfort, or safety reasons?
- How many of your employees regularly come into contact with clients, co-workers, visitors, or members of the public?
- Who are your main customers and what is their style of dress?
- What is your company’s employer brand and the image you would like to project?
- Is your workplace air conditioned?
- What is your company culture?
Sample Employee Dress Code Policy
The common terms and contents of a dress code policy include:
Your dress code policy statement should express the key goal of your policy: to ensure a safe, comfortable, and professional workplace for everyone. You should indicate in the statement whether your company requires a specific dress code (i.e. professional, business casual, or uniform). It is also common to restrict the use of scented products (perfumes, deodorants, colognes) as part of your company dress code policy.
In the scope, indicate to whom the policy applies. A dress code may apply to all staff, or it may differentiate based on employment status, location, department, or role. The scope should also identify exceptions to the policy, such as employees who work in a warehouse and are required to wear safety equipment, or outside work activities where professional attire is not required.
In the procedure section, outline the responsibilities of managers and employees in maintaining the dress code policy. Here, you can provide examples of clothing that are appropriate or inappropriate. You should also indicate any consequences for failing to comply with the policy. For example, a dress code violation may result in the employee being sent home or being asked not to wear the inappropriate item to work again.