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How to tell a staff member they're dressed inappropriately

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HC Online | 05 Dec 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Ripped jeans, worn t-shirts, see-through blouses – you might know what unacceptable clothing looks like, but how do you address it?
  • Postal worker | 27 Jul 2012, 12:15 AM Agree 0
    One ex-employee I knew of wore some very inappropriate clothing in the workplace. His shorts were very brief, he had holes in his jeans (in the inner thigh area), and he wore very tight t-shirts and 'tank tops' (ie singlets) even during winter. He was the worst case scenario, especially amongst the male staff members.

    Some of the women weren't much better, and often wore midriff baring tops (or ones that showed bits of 'cleavage').

    Other employees, on the other hand, adopted some *very* poor standards re personal hygeine and grooming and alot of their co workers were reluctant to work with them. Or they had some smell on them that other people found unpleasant.

    How do you tell the flashier, showier people that the workplace is a workplace, and not a pub or nightclub, without being accused of being jealous etc? I'm not against people being attractive, but sometimes it gets a bit much.

    Alternatively, how do you tell someone that their hygeine and grooming is not up to scratch, without being accused of discrimination?

    As a postal worker, I am one of many staff members who wears a uniform, but it doesn't always ensure 'appropriateness' when dressing for work.
  • Catherine Cahill | 15 Aug 2013, 04:28 PM Agree 0
    I worked in an organisation where we developed a very specific dress code - but it was not about staff wearing suits! It covered personal hygiene (breath freshness and deodorant) and specifically outlined areas of the body which needed to be adequately covered! It made discussing these "difficult" issues much simpler - and I was very grateful because with a very young work force, these discussions were not infrequent!! The most important thing is to be respectful and very honest!
  • Max Underhill | 08 Dec 2013, 09:03 AM Agree 0
    We have a Service Level Agreement (which can be audited by the management and staff on random basis) which covers what is acceptable from a client perspective and also from a business perspective for those not working with clients. It is important as going into a client's premises we often initiate discussions on protective equipment and safety issues (like what to do in an earthquake - which became a real life situation on day 3). The dress issue is not what to wear or not wear but we have described the "outcome" from the clients perspective; professional, cultural etc impact/impression. The definition of the outcome id highly effective and meaningful for the staff and empowers them to consider the situation and become more empathic - clients, the company, fellow workers etc.
  • Leanne Faraday-Brash | 09 Dec 2013, 03:01 PM Agree 0
    My standard advice as someone who trains companies in sexual harassment policy and obligations- Don't wear anything to work you would normally wear to a nightclub unless it's a watch. We can all still dress individually without dressing inappropriately. Confusing the two is the same as saying my crass joke or racial taunt was just trying to get a laugh and spread joy at work and that those who don't agree are taking all the fun out of the workplace. All such excuses are just a pretext for unchecked behaviour.
  • confused | 13 Mar 2014, 01:41 AM Agree 0
    I recently started supervising at an on campus restaurant. The restaurant itself is considered fine dining, however all of my staff are college students 95% female with a predominantly male relaxed management team. I live in a small.town where "being yourself," and keeping your "flair" is big deal. I walk.in every day to see the hostesses wearing leggings with a normal shirt or a skirt that is "mini" by all means. The staff is now internally talking about how they look "trashy" etc... I don't know how to tell these girls that is unacceptable and the male staff thinks they are.not allowed to to talk about the way they dress. Needless to say the trashy look is of now.not.concern to them. Any advice? Thanks
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