Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Courts uphold ban on 'sexy' work attire

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THERE has been a ban on "sexy" dressing in some workplaces and "Courts around the country, mostly federal courts governing states such as Illinois and California, are permitting businesses to ban what employers call 'sexy' dressing in the workplace," reports Eric Matusewitch, deputy director of the New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission.

And what is "sexy?" Matusewitch, who has worked on equal employment opportunity issues for 20 years, says the courts put it this way: "It's considered attire that is particularly revealing and of extreme fit, such as spandex, and also use of excessive makeup."

In response to charges by female employees that such codes discriminate against women, Matusewitch points out that "courts are holding that employers have a right to set reasonable dress and appearance codes.

"They state there is no sex discrimination if the codes apply equally to men and women. So, if men are required to dress conservatively, employers can require women to avoid tight, 'flashy' and revealing outfits."

What's revealed to me by the courts' stance is what women wear still is considered "provocative" and what men wear still is considered a matter of "grooming."

"In general, courts are stating that the appearance of company employees may contribute greatly to its image and success with the public -- and that a reasonable dress or grooming code is a proper management prerogative," the director said.

Fortunately for Britney Spears, she's not job hunting.

-- Chicago Tribune

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2004 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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