Don’t risk a PR disaster: Communicate clear policies

by 12 Mar 2012

The well-known annual fundraising event for the Leukemia foundation, World’s Greatest Shave, is an important and worthy cause, but as a Melbourne business found this week, not clearly communicating with staff has sparked a barrage of damaging PR.

An employee at Peter Rowland Catering coloured his hair vibrant orange in support of the World’s Greatest Shave and to promote the SES – but as a casual drinks server at the Flemington race course, he was informed by his employer that his coloured hair was inappropriate to his role and that he should return when the dye was gone. The HR manager at Flemington, Rod Stephens, said the employee remained on staff as a casual, but it has been widely reported that the worker was laid off.

According to the employee, he wasn’t offered a compromise such as wearing a hat or bandana, and as a result the organisation has suffered damaging PR. Lisa Burrell from the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was integral that employers clearly communicate their dress code requirements. Additionally, SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said the emergency service appreciated the support shown to volunteers by employers, but said it would expect members to talk with employers before they take an action that could impact their workplace.

World’s Greatest Shave at work

The Leukemia foundation provides free support to people with blood cancer and their families, as well as investing millions in research. Each year many organisations host an event at their workplace, and it can be a fun and positive way to associate your business with a worthy cause that doesn’t blow the marketing budget.  For more information on sponsoring a workplace event visit


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