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Legal Updates

Acas publishes new guidance on dress codes for employers

11 September 2014 #Employment

The new guidance can be found at

Dress codes can be used by employers for a number of reasons, for example as a way of communicating a corporate image or for health and safety reasons.

Some key points:

  • Employers must avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy
  • Employers may have health and safety reasons for having certain standards
  • Dress codes must apply to both men and women equally, although they may have different requirements
  • Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled people when dress codes are in place

Employers may have a policy that sets out a reasonable standard of dress and appearance for their organisation, Any dress code should be non-discriminatory and should apply to both men and women equally, but standards can be different for example a policy may state "business dress" for women but may state for men "must wear a tie".

Tattoos and body piercings can raise issues for employers and these may be addressed in your policy.

When drafting or updating a dress code, make sure you consider the reasoning behind it and consult with employees to ensure that the code is acceptable to both the organisation and employees. Once agreed it should be clearly communicated.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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