What is your definition of a professional dress code?


With the changing of seasons comes changes in the workplace along with changes in dress code.  This is the time of year when employees typically stretch the dress code policies to try new styles and wardrobe trends.  Consistent and uniform enforcement not only reduces potential liability exposure, but also prevents the slow deterioration of your dress code policy in the workplace.

Below is a list of the top issues that I see on a regular basis which could impact your workplace when it comes to the warmer season.


The warm change in weather brings overly casual and revealing clothing that can expose uncovered tattoos and/or body piercings that were once covered during the winter months.  Depending on the type of work, various tattoos and body piercings are often viewed (by others) as unprofessional and inappropriate for a place of work.  When new styles and trends are worn, Employers must uniformly enforce dress and appearance issues as they arise.  Allowing one employee to wear sandals and not another employee in that same position may invite a Title VII discrimination claim.


It is critical to make sure all employees understand the harassment and discrimination laws.  They must know that if inappropriate or provocative clothing is worn this may encourage employees to say or do things in violation of your policies and the law.  Employees should be reminded that you expect 100% compliance with these important policies and that your expectation for professionalism in their appearance and dress is required daily.  Policies need to be enforced to remain effective.  At times you may have to address an employee individually to keep them within your definition of professional standards.  These conversations are sometimes uncomfortable but necessary.


Warmer weather brings more vacation/PTO requests.  Employers must follow the proper procedures for granting/denying vacation/PTO requests across all employees.  Have a procedure in place to determine who gets first choice of vacation/PTO and manage the requests on a timely basis.


The warmer weather can boost an Employers need to hire seasonal help or even a summer Intern.   Employers need to make sure they are following all normal employment and pay practices even if they do not anticipate the employee staying long-term. This includes collecting Form I-9s and W-4s, following proper state laws on unemployment insurance and disability, notifying the state of all new employees you hire, and following all other local, state, and federal wage and hour laws including child labor laws.  Don’t assume short-term workers can be treated as independent contractors due to their short-term nature.


I can help you with your employee guidelines.  Contact Susan Arnold at www.HROn-Call.com


Susan Arnold
HR On-Call, LLC
p. 515.401.2233
e. Susan@HROn-Call.com


A little more about us:
Susan Arnold, owner and lead HR Consultant at HR On-Call, LLC. Susan has 20+ years of HR experience and provides a HR presence to business organizations without the overhead expense of a full-time employee. Susan helps business owners improve employer/employee relationships and allows them to focus on their business while resting assured that they are in full compliance with state and federal law.

Areas of expertise:

  • Reduce Employer Risk and Liability
  • Customized Employee Handbooks
  • Performance Reviews
  • Improve Employee/Employer Relationships
  • Background Checks
  • Personality Assessments
  • Guaranteed EEO Compliance
  • Employee Retention
  • Recruitment / Hiring
  • Employee Discipline/Discharge

Susan is passionate about her customers and listens to their needs. If you are interested in any of the details above or would like more information about her services, please contact Susan!

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