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Personal appearance and behaviour

Susie Munro

Editor's message: Having policies in place on employee behaviour and appearance helps your employees know what standards are expected of them, in relation to their dress, use of social media or behaviour at work-related social events, for example.

Properly implemented policies can help to avoid tribunal claims against your organisation, and potential liability for the actions of an employee, such as for harassment. But legal action is clearly not your only concern; employee behaviour that comes to the attention of social media and brings your organisation into disrepute can be even more damaging.

You need to make sure your policies on employees’ appearance and behaviour do not themselves put your organisation’s reputation at risk, through being discriminatory or otherwise out of step with current attitudes. For example, could your dress code result in a petition with more than 150,000 signatures and an investigation by a Parliamentary committee, as happened when receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from an agency assignment with PwC for wearing flat shoes?

With the introduction of the GDPR, you are likely to have been particularly focused on data protection issues, which should include keeping on top of how employees are using your communications technology. Having policies on this can help to prevent data breaches and other unlawful processing of personal data.

Susie Munro, senior employment law editor

New and updated

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    Date:
    13 September 2018
    Type:
    News

    UK employees take a more lenient approach than the European average to questionable workplace behaviour but are more likely to blow the whistle if they are aware of misconduct, according to research into employees' experiences of ethics.

  • Coming soon to XpertHR

    Type:
    Editor's choice

    Updated to include information on the forthcoming Pay award forecasts.

  • Take part in our Christmas working and celebrations survey

    Date:
    28 August 2018
    Type:
    Editor's choice

    XpertHR is conducting a survey on Christmas in the workplace, and would like to invite you to take part. The survey looks at Christmas resourcing arrangements, plans and budgets for Christmas celebrations, and how employers seek to ensure good conduct at festive events.

  • Date:
    26 July 2018
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    In light of the malicious payroll data breach at Morrisons carried out by a disgruntled employee in 2014, and more recent alleged employee sabotage at US electric car manufacturer Tesla, David Kearns, a specialist in employee dishonesty, looks at why it's time for boardrooms to act to protect themselves from the "internal threat".

  • Podcast: Five key cases for HR to look out for

    Date:
    6 July 2018
    Type:
    Audio and video

    The headlines are being dominated by "gig economy" employment status cases, but there are plenty of other important employment law cases coming up. We discuss the potential implications for employers of forthcoming rulings on whistleblowing, data protection, restrictive covenants, covert CCTV and violence at work-related social events.

  • Take part in our dress and appearance survey

    Date:
    3 July 2018
    Type:
    Editor's choice

    XpertHR is conducting a survey of regulations, policies or guidelines that give employees instructions on standards of dress and/or appearance and we would be grateful for your assistance.

  • Clarks boss gets the boot after behaviour 'fell short'

    Date:
    26 June 2018
    Type:
    News

    The boss of iconic shoemaker Clarks has resigned after the British company said his behaviour had fallen short of the standards expected of its staff.

  • How courageous conversations can resolve workplace conflicts

    Date:
    25 June 2018
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Why do so many managers shy away from having tough conversations with employees? Knowing what to say at the right time can help nip conflicts and other issues in the bud, explains Tania Coke from workplace mediation specialists Consensio.

  • Sainsbury's employee dismissed for Facebook post wins case

    Date:
    22 June 2018
    Type:
    News

    A former Sainsbury's employee was unfairly dismissed after an investigation into whether he had committed an act of gross misconduct was not approached with an open mind, an employment tribunal has found.

  • Date:
    14 June 2018
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    With four weeks of World Cup football matches about to kick off, what do employers need to be wary of, and are there ways to use the tournament as a way to bring staff together? Personnel Today rounds up five considerations for employers.