Beyond the Hemline: Using Fashion to Recognize Employment Law Issues in the Workplace
There is a well-known saying that a person’s eyes are the keys to the soul. In the employment context, fashion choices are often keys to employee issues that not only impact employee performance and productivity but also (should) alert employers to issues that, if not properly handled, will lead to legal liability. It may sound odd, but fashion in the workplace often provides insight into issues that implicate important employment laws, and employers should know what to look for.
When I say fashion in the workplace, I am not talking about the fashionista boss with unreasonable expectations from the 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada (although that character has some amazing clothes), I am talking more along the line of Peter Gibbons from Office Space (1999). Peter stops coming into work on time, and when he does come in, he is dressed in casual clothing and even wears flip flops. Seriously folks, no one at Initech wondered what was up with Peter? No one investigated? I love the film, but in my Board Certified Labor and Employment attorney opinion, that is really a major plot flaw.
Consider how fashion and employment law are tied in the following scenarios:
- On his fifth anniversary with the company, Bob comes to work in a dress and asks to be called Barbara.
- Sue shows up to your conservative workplace on a Monday covered in tattoos.
- Joe shows up to work wearing clothing with politically charged statements.
- You have an employee whose religious garb violates your company’s dress code policy.
- A pregnant employee comes to work with a photo of a pot plant on her shirt.
- Jane, who usually comes to work really put together, comes into work several days in a row wearing over-sized clothing and heavy makeup.
- You have an employee that appears to be wearing the same three outfits over and over.
Do you know how to properly handle these situations? Are you aware of what laws may be implicated by each? If you are interested in learning more, on Saturday, May 6, 2017, join me and another Sarasota-area employment lawyer at the Holiday Inn Lido Beach from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., where participants will be part of an interactive presentation, including a fashion show presented contemporaneously with each scenario, that addresses the above situations (and others) and, in doing so, will review the basics of several labor and employment law issues, including but not limited to:
- Religious Accommodation
- Florida Domestic Violence Leave
- Family Medical Leave Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Transgender Workforce
- Gender Bias
- Medical Marijuana
- Employment Policies
- Political Discourse in the Workplace
Although this presentation has been arranged by the Florida Association of Legal Support Specialists, it is open to anyone interested in attending. It has been approved for three General CLER credits. In addition, both HRCI and SHRM have confirmed with the Association that non-pre-approved attendees can obtain certification credits by directly requesting credits from the organizations using the information provided on the Attendance/CLE Certificate provided the day of the event.
Please visit falss.org for more information and to register.