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
Updated to include information on the forthcoming Podcast: Dress and appearance in the workplace.
Updated to refer to Atherton v Bensons Vending Ltd, in which an employee's derogatory comments about his employer on Facebook did not justify the withholding of notice pay.
In the aftermath of Danny Baker's sacking from the BBC this week for tweeting what he later described was an "idiotic" joke about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new-born son, Kirsty Cooke investigates how employers should handle their employees' use of social media.
Enhanced with a new version of the model policy, with the example wording reflecting current practice on dress and appearance in the workplace.
Updated to include information on a keynote speech by the FCA chief executive on MiFID II, including the investment research requirements.
In Elliott v RMS Cash Solutions Ltd, a Northern Ireland tribunal held that a cash transit firm fairly dismissed an employee whose Snapchat posts revealed a colleague's personal details. The posts increased the risk of "tiger kidnapping", which involves staff or their families being kidnapped to force staff to help commit a crime.
Employers are four times more likely to worry about how their apprentices dress for work than they would about graduates, a survey by the Institute of Student Employers has revealed.
Technology has revolutionised the way many people organise their work and created a debate around employee status. But it is also increasingly used to campaign for better treatment and conditions in the workplace, argues Susie Al-Qassab - employment law partner at Hodge, Jones & Allen.
Female cabin crew working for Virgin Atlantic will no longer be required to wear make-up while on their shift.
Chelsea supporter Colin Wing recently lost his job in connection to alleged racist abuse he made against Manchester City player Raheem Sterling. What legal routes are available to employers who have to deal with misconduct by staff outside work? Harry Abrams from Seddons explains.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to personal appearance and behaviour.