In recent news two major employers, Goldman Sachs and Virgin Atlantic, have made changes to their traditional dress codes for employees.
Global investment bank, Goldman Sachs has announced a more relaxed dress code, company wide, in a bid to appeal more to the younger generation of talent and to recognise the changing nature of the working environment, given that 75% of their employee base is part of ’Generation Z’ (those born from the mid-1990's to early 2000's). They have urged their employees to use their ‘good judgement’ in the clothing choices they make.
Secondly, Virgin Atlantic have overhauled their ‘iconic’ air steward uniform and now permit their female employees to choose whether they wear the traditional red pencil skirt or trousers. This is a huge shakeup in the airline industry who have typically imposed a stereotypical glamorous appearance for its cabin crew members.
There has also been a buzz around whether employers can ask their female employees to wear makeup and this recent article makes interesting reading, but the short answer is 'no'!
It’s important to remember that there is a fine line between having a dress code and having standards which could be deemed to be too prescriptive or ‘less favourable’ on one sex, make up requirements being one such example of this. If you think your policies might fall foul of this, then step back and reevaluate what you are asking of your employees.
Dress code has been a hot topic over the past few years, and is no doubt likely to continue to be on the agenda in an ever evolving business world focused on equality. If you missed our previous blog posts, you can read them here.
Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.