Personal appearance and behaviour

Anderson Sarah Editor's message: The personal appearance of employees when at work is something that can be covered by a dress and appearance policy.

However, employers should carefully consider whether or not it is appropriate to adapt their dress code to accommodate employees whose cultural or religious needs make it difficult for them to comply with the dress code. Failure to do this could give rise to unlawful discrimination.

Managing employees' behaviour at work can be a challenging task for line managers. Putting in place policies setting out what is expected of employees in the workplace can help to ensure that employees behave in an appropriate and professional manner at work.

Sarah Anderson, employment law editor

New and updated

  • Date:
    17 February 2017
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    When receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from an assignment for wearing flat shoes it created a flurry of debate and a subsequent parliamentary inquiry. Now the results of the inquiry have been published, what does this mean for employers who operate uniform or dress code policies?

  • Date:
    10 February 2017
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Can employers have rules on personal relationships at work? Is it harassment for a worker to ask a colleague out on a date? Is it ever appropriate for a line manager to interfere in an employee's love life? With Valentine's Day approaching, we look at 10 potential problems with workplace romances.

  • Podcast: Why employers should be wary of workplace romances

    Date:
    10 February 2017
    Type:
    Audio and video

    We discuss the problems that can occur when colleagues are in a relationship, and what HR can do to manage those issues. We also answer some commonly asked questions, including whether or not it can be harassment to ask a co-worker out on a date.

  • Sexist dress codes could attract stricter punishment and fines

    Date:
    25 January 2017
    Type:
    News

    Employers that enforce sexist dress codes could be in line for stricter punishment and fines, if the Government follows recommendations set out in a new report.

  • Statement to employees in advance of a Christmas party or similar work-related event

    Type:
    Policies and documents

    Updated to include information on Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd, a High Court decision on vicarious liability for a managing director's "brutal assault" of an employee.

  • Christmas arrangements

    Date:
    7 December 2016
    Type:
    Editor's choice

    We round up our resources that will help employers ensure that the Christmas period goes smoothly and manage issues relating to staff behaviour at the office party, lateness or non-attendance at work, refusal to work overtime, competing holiday requests and payment of bonuses.

  • Podcast: How to avoid a workplace nightmare this Christmas

    Date:
    25 November 2016
    Type:
    Audio and video

    We recap on the traditional guidance for employers on misconduct at the work Christmas party. We also examine issues employers might face this Christmas around attendance and absence.

  • Date:
    1 October 2016
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Almost half of the private-sector workforce is employed by family businesses. While many such companies are successful, sound policies are needed to avoid nepotism and claims for breach of contract and unfair constructive dismissal from non-family employees. Ed Stacey, a partner and head of the employment legal team at PwC, offers tips on good practice.

  • Visible tattoos: is it time to relax policies on employee appearance?

    Date:
    22 September 2016
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    New research on appearance at work from Acas shows that employers may be out of touch with changing public attitudes to visible tattoos, body piercings and other developments.

  • Date:
    1 September 2016
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    The requirement to speak English at work and dress codes at work are policy areas where employers should tread carefully to avoid discrimination. Deborah Bulman, a senior associate from Burges Salmon LLP, considers recent legal controversies and gives tips on drafting employment policies.

About this topic

HR and legal information and guidance relating to employee appearance and behaviour.