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Dressing down

Two employment tribunal cases on sexist dress codes have only confused the issue says Caroline Doran

16 May 2003

Two recent high profile cases on sexist dress codes seem to have confused rather than clarified matters. One week a prison officer is told that having to wear a tie is definitely not sex discrimination against male workers (Caldicott v HM Prison Service [2003] Employment Tribunal). Hot on its coat tails, a worker in the Job Centre is told he has suffered sex discrimination by being forced to wear a collar and tie at work (Thompson v Department of Work & Pensions [2003] Employment Tribunal). So can employers lawfully require men to wear a collar and tie at work? Dress codes and the law Dress codes have been in the news with increasing frequency over the past years. We have seen the introduction of dress down Fridays, then a wholesale move to ‘office casual’ attire at the height of the dot.com era. A more subdued market place has led to reports of banks, law firms and other employers requiring a more formal and sober attire from its workforce. A person’s clo...

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