Retired football coach, broadcaster and motivational speaker Lou Holtz said, “Never tell your problems to anyone...20% don't care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” Although this may have some truth for most of us, employers must be careful not to fall into either category.
While employers may believe that they have a broad right to regulate what employees wear in the workplace, this is not the case. The question of what requirements an employer can impose on an employee’s appearance can actually be quite complex because the imposition of dress codes create a tension between an employee’s right to look the way they want and the employer’s business interest in regulating appearances. Unless an employer can provide an objective explanation of why the dress code is necessary, arbitrators typically find in favour of employees’ interests in self-expression.
Established in 1995, First Reference Inc. (known as La Référence in Quebec) provides Canadian organizations of any size with practical and authoritative resources to help ensure compliance.