What consititues an unacceptable dress code?

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What consititues an unacceptable dress code?

My employer just changed our dress code policy that has the following being deemed as unacceptable: “T-shirts or caps with text or logos except for sporting, racing, or Ford”. I would like to know if under the law this is discriminatory since having a logo is acceptable as long as it is a racing or Ford shirt but it unacceptable outside of those two contexts?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An employer may impose any dress code which does not discriminate against employees on a handful of specifically protected bases. For example, the main cases where dress codes have been found to be illegal are when they discriminate against employees due to their religion (e.g. not letting Muslim or Jewish men where head coverings; not allowing Sikh men to wear turbans) or race (requiring all men to be completely clean shaven, when there are some African American men who are susceptible to skin irritation or infections if they can't wear beards). There is no specific legal protection for the right to wear logos or have T-shirts or caps with text, so what your employer is doing may seem unfair, but it is legal.


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