Dress code cases a ‘waste of time’

Employers who have gone to court over their refusal to allow women to wear
trousers have been criticised for wasting company time and resources.

Cases such as the one lost by the Professional Golfers’ Association last
month have been slated as unfit for the 21st century by employers and unions
alike who contributed to this month’s "Barometer".

Nigel Connolly, HR manager of EasyJet said: "If you have got nothing
better to do than worry about whether employees wear trousers or shirts, then
you’re not spending enough time on your business."

Bruce Warman, director of personnel for Vauxhall Motors, said: "I don’t
think this is something HR directors should be wasting their time with. The
only issue is that staff should look reasonably smart and clothes shouldn’t be
unsafe. "

Dawn Butler, London regional organiser for the GMB, said: "It’s a waste
of time, energy and resources… Individuals should be judged on the job they
do – not what they’re wearing."

The PGA lost its battle against former training manager Judy Owen who
claimed line manager Gerry Paton had humiliated her by asking her to go home
and change into a skirt.

The PGA denied its code was discriminatory and said Owen had
"provoked" Paton by failing to heed earlier requests, although it
confirmed it did not have a written policy.

The case follows a similar fight by employees of rail operator Eurostar,
which backed down on its skirts-only policy after a poll revealed customers had
no problem with women wearing trousers.

Clare Hockney, the Equal Opportunities Commission solicitor who represented
Owen, said: "It has now been deemed unlawful sex discrimination to refuse
to allow women to wear a smart trouser suit… This issue had not been directly
tested since 1977 and standards of what is conventional dress for men and women
have moved on."

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