Dress codes under scrutiny after Jobcentre man victory

Employers should review their dress codes to ensure they are even-handed,
following the victory of a Jobcentre employee who won the right not to have to
wear a tie to work.

An employment tribunal ruled last month that Mark Thompson had been
discriminated against by his employer because he was forced to wear a shirt and
tie for work, while female staff were allowed to wear more casual attire, such
as t-shirts.

Lawyers said although the case did not establish any firm precedents, it
does illustrate the need to apply dress codes so they do not discriminate
against either sex.

"Differences between the sexes on individual items of a dress code will
not, in themselves, be discriminatory," said Kerstie Steaping,
discrimination solicitor at Addleshaw Booth. "Employers should look at the
overall effect of the dress code – consider whether it has a greater or less
favourable impact on one group of employees."

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