Topics

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

  • Date:
    18 August 2020
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    "All views my own": Monitoring employees' social media

    Social media has grown in use exponentially since Facebook was launched 16 years ago, and so has the risk to users. Daniel Piddington examines how employers can keep an eye on their staff's social media posts without falling foul of the law.

  • Type:
    Editor's choice

    Hot weather: resource round-up

    Is there a maximum temperature beyond which employees are not expected to work? Should employers relax their dress codes when temperatures are high? Can employees request annual leave at short notice? XpertHR has a range of resources to help HR manage employment issues that may arise during hot weather.

  • Type:
    Employment law manual

    Monitoring: financial services

    Updated to include information on recording obligations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  • Date:
    13 February 2020
    Type:
    Law reports

    Internet misuse: Tribunal rules gross misconduct dismissal is fair

    In Hall v Weightmans LLP, an employment tribunal found that the employee's dismissal for excessive internet use discovered during a disciplinary investigation was fair and that the appeal procedure followed was "textbook".

  • Type:
    Editor's choice

    Managing behaviour at work events

    We round up our resources that will help employers avoid problems at a work-related event, including at the Christmas or end-of-year work party. Our resources include research on employers' arrangements for celebrations over the Christmas and New Year period, to help you benchmark your organisation.

  • Date:
    20 November 2019
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Environmental activism: how can an employer impose its views?

    Encouraging employees to adopt a greener lifestyle is one thing, but how far can employers go in terms of building their views into policies and contracts? Nickie Pickernell considers the issues.

  • Date:
    12 November 2019
    Type:
    Podcasts and webinars

    Podcast: Social media misconduct

    Nick Chronias, partner at DAC Beachcroft LLP, joins us to discuss the common issues for employers relating to social media misconduct.

  • Date:
    12 November 2019
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    General election 2019: Five issues when politics and work mix

    How can employers prevent employees from electioneering at work? Should the workforce be banned from highlighting their political allegiances in the workplace? What if colleagues argue over opposing political views? With a general election taking place on 12 December, we look at five employment issues when politics and the workplace mix.

  • Type:
    Policies and documents

    Policy on sporting and other special events

    Updated to include dates for the 2020 Olympics and the football European Championships.

  • Date:
    28 October 2019
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Climate change protests: Five concerns for employers

    Widespread environmental protests, such as the Extinction Rebellion, are having an increasing everyday impact on employers. We round up potential issues for HR professionals who are dealing with disruption to their employer's operations as a result of climate change protests.