XpertHR explores the different approaches taken by employers to dress and appearance in the workplace and the challenges involved in ensuring that rules are followed
The Government today issued guidance for employers on how they can ensure dress codes are not discriminatory. They do not contain any measures to toughen up sanctions on organisations with discriminatory rules, however, and have been criticised by one employment law firm.
In this podcast, Darren Newman explores the issue of sex discrimination and workplace dress codes.
Updated to include information on the ECJ judgments in Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV and Bougnaoui v Micropole Univers, on employers preventing female staff from wearing Islamic headscarfs while working with clients.
The European Court of Justice has held that a direct religious discrimination claim in which an employee who wears an Islamic headscarf is dismissed to appease a customer cannot be defended on the basis of a "genuine and determining occupational requirement".
The European Court of Justice has held that a ban on religious dress that prevents a Muslim woman from wearing an Islamic headscarf when in contact with clients cannot be directly discriminatory, but is potentially indirectly discriminatory.
In Begum v Pedagogy Auras UK Ltd t/a Barley Lane Montessori Day Nursery EAT/0309/13, the EAT upheld an employment tribunal decision that there was no religious discrimination against a Muslim interviewee who was asked by the interviewer if she could wear religious clothing that did not present a trip hazard.
The Advocate General has suggested that an employer cannot have a blanket ban on religious dress that prevents a Muslim woman from wearing an Islamic headscarf when in contact with clients.
The Advocate General has said that it is not direct religious discrimination for an employer with a policy of religious and political neutrality to prevent a Muslim employee from wearing an Islamic headscarf.
The employer debate about whether or not to police employee appearance in the workplace remains very much alive in 2015, according to XpertHR's research into dress codes.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to dress codes and uniforms.