Laws Are Changing: Take a Look at Your Dress Code

Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. ___ (2020), provides broader protection for LGBT employees under discrimination based on sex. The decision means that employers are going to need to update dress code policies that could discriminate based on sex. In addition, CROWN statutes, like the one passed in Colorado this year, do not allow employers to discriminate on the basis of hairstyles, creating a greater need to review those policies.

Here are five things to consider when reviewing a dress code to update it:

  • Dress or hair policies should relate to the needs of the position. For example, safety may dictate that hair or beards are kept in a hairnet, and that clothing doesn’t have straps that can get caught in machinery.
  • A description of dress should be gender-neutral and focus on the type of clothing expected, such as business casual, suits, or uniforms.
  • Take out any reference to he/him /his and she/her/ hers and use they/them/their in the policy. (For more on gender neutrality throughout your workplace, the group Out and Equal has helpful information.)
  • If you refer to specific genders in your dress code, understand that either men or women can wear attire specific to either gender. It goes without saying that transgender employees should be allowed to dress in accordance with their gender identity.
  • As more Millennials and Generation Z – who identify as non-binary and gender fluid at higher rates than previous generations – enter the workforce, Out & Equal expects the future of professional dress to be gender fluid. This means that an employee may change their dress and hair.

If you have questions about your dress code, please contact us. We can help.