Dress and Appearance Code: Rights, Responsibilities, and Potential Liabilities for 2022
Dr. Susan Strauss is a national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and a recognized expert on workplace and school harassment and bullying. She has served on organizational Workplace Violence Task Forces and facilitated workplace violence training sessions for management and employees. She conducts harassment and bullying investigations and functions as an expert witness in harassment and bullying lawsuits. Her clients are from business, education, healthcare, law, and government organizations from both the public and private sectors.
Dr. Strauss has conducted research, written over 30 books, book chapters, and journal articles on harassment, bullying, and related topics. She has been featured on 20/20, CBS Evening News and other television and radio programs as well as interviewed for newspaper and journal articles such as Harvard Education Newsletter, Lawyers Weekly and Times of London.
Susan has a doctorate in organizational leadership. She is a registered nurse, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and counseling, a master’s degree in community health, and a professional certificate in training and development. She has been involved in workplace violence and the harassment and bullying arena since 1985.
From the style and length of one’s hair, to the number and location of visible tattoos, to recognizing gender non-conformity style, to creating a summer dress code, employers are facing an increased need to determine their organization’s culture and policies, as well as following federal and state laws. How does an organization balance employees’ rights to express themselves with the organization’s rights to determine its legitimate business needs while maintaining an inclusive work environment? The pitfalls for employers are many. More businesses are likely to face these issues especially now that research is confirming these types of biases exist broadly across U. S. workplaces. The potential for organizational errors are plentiful. Organizations expect employees to use sound judgment in their dress and grooming, however, what if the employee’s sense of dress and grooming varies from the organizations? After all, types of self-expression have become more commonplace with society demonstrating more acceptances in people’s choices of self-expression—shouldn’t the workplace reflect this change in social rules too? Religious dress and dress that defies gender stereotypes are the two areas that are the most challenging for employers. These issues and others will be discussed.
- To discuss legal issues surrounding Dress and Appearance in the workplace
- To list specific elements of a Dress and Appearance policy
- To explore the role of unconscious bias and stereotypes play in discrimination through dress codes
- To identify prevention tactics to ensure employees are judged by their performance and not on stereotypes
Who Should Attend
- Managers and Directors throughout the organization
- Human Resources generalists, managers, directors
Why Should You Attend
Dress codes are receiving a fair amount of attention in the courts these days. There have been a number of precedent setting lawsuits dealing with dress codes’ requirements and how those requirements, even inadvertently, discriminate against potential and current employees based on their gender, religion, and race, to name a few. It is critical that human resources professionals and managers understand the importance of a discriminatory free dress code to ensure all job candidates and employees are treated fairly and equitably.