Can a dress code prohibiting me from wearing bandanas be enforced while it cause no safety issues and I have zero contact with the public?

This dress code apparently only applies to me as another co-worker is allowed to wear one. I was told that I was to remove it due to it making me look like a “thug”. In the employee handbook I received upon hiring, it states zero policies prohibiting them.

Asked on July 21, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As general matter, a business may put in place dress and appearance codes that need not all be consistent across different offices/locations, or even within the same office. The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. As long as your treatment does not constitute legally actionable discrimination (i.e. that based on race, religion, gender, etc.), it is perfectly legal.

That having been said, if the bandana have has religious or cultural significance, such as a Muslim woman's covering or a Jewish male's yamulka, then your employer cannot bar it. Additionally, if this prohibition violates specific company policy, an employment contract, union agreement, etc., then it would be illegal.

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