Employers should hear out employee requests for exceptions to dress code rules, especially if the requests indicate that the employees may have religious reasons for requesting the exceptions. Employers therefore should carefully consider whether and to what extent differing dress code standards are really worth the many risks that are associated with them. Consequently, most employers cannot prohibit employees from wearing religious garb e. As aptly illustrated by Jespersen, differing dress code requirements often elicit differing reactions according to gender lines. Because of the high degree of both risk and uncertainty, employers generally should be discouraged from implementing differing dress codes for men and women except where they are absolutely necessary. Jespersen, a bartender with an impeccable job history, refused the makeup requirements on grounds that they offended her and conflicted with her self-image. Nelson is the founder of the Nelson Law Group, a San Bruno, California based law firm specializing in labor and employment matters. Nelson Law Group Every now and again court cases are decided where it seems that the judges who made the decisions did not really relate to the subject matter at hand.
As aptly illustrated by Jespersen, differing dress code requirements often elicit differing reactions according to gender lines. Consequently, most employers cannot prohibit employees from wearing religious garb e. After she was fired by Harrah's, Ms. Employees can bring harassment claims if they are selectively required to wear provocative or suggestive clothing e. Jespersen filed a lawsuit under Title VII, the federal anti-job discrimination law. Because of the high degree of both risk and uncertainty, employers generally should be discouraged from implementing differing dress codes for men and women except where they are absolutely necessary. In addition, men were required to keep their hair and fingernails short and well-groomed. For example, there do not appear to have been many makeup-wearing judges involved in the majority decision in Jespersen v. Jespersen appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Think hard whether differing standards are really necessary As previously explained, it is highly likely that but for a modicum of formal evidence indicating that it really is disproportionately harder for women to wear makeup, Jespersen could easily have come out in favor of the employee. Jespersen argued on appeal that Harrah's makeup requirement imposed a greater workload on women than the grooming standards did on men, she did not present any evidence at trial proving that. Employers should hear out employee requests for exceptions to dress code rules, especially if the requests indicate that the employees may have religious reasons for requesting the exceptions. Harrah's Operating Company even though the opinion was in fact authored by a woman. Employers should take the following steps before implementing dress codes which impose differing standards on men and women: Potential Liability for Differing Dress Codes Many employers cheered Jespersen as a vindication of their respective rights to impose differing dress standards on men and women employees. In fact, the case should be much more of a cautionary warning, given that the Court strongly suggested that the outcome would have been different if the plaintiff had only introduced some evidence proving that makeup requirements are more difficult to adhere to than grooming or other male-specific standards. In addition to discrimination, disparate dress code standards can also subject employers to potential liability for sex harassment. For these reasons, employers should carefully consider the myriad potential risks of gender-specific dress codes before they attempt to implement them. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the casino, after which Ms. To do this, employers should solicit feedback and opinion about the proposed standards from both genders, especially the one that is likely to be disproportionately affected. The case involved an employee at a Harrah's Casino in Nevada who was fired after she refused to follow a company policy that required women and only women to wear makeup while at work. Jespersen's Title VII discrimination claims had to be dismissed. The supreme art is to prevail without fighting. In that case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to assume that a dress code that required makeup imposed a disproportionate burden on women than it did on men. Women had to follow specific standards with regard to painting their fingernails, style their hair, and also use foundation, mascara, blush and lipstick. Given how easy it should be for plaintiffs to prove that, it is unlikely that any future dress code cases will be decided according to the same lack-of-evidence logic as Jespersen.
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