A leading law firm recently directed 105 female trainee solicitors to “dress far more appropriately” and “brush their hair”. It seems this was justified, but exactly how far can you go when telling your employees how they should look?Dress code in the newsBosses at the law firm Allen & Overy were recently horrified by the workplace attire of dozens of new female trainee solicitors; according to reports they “had far too much flesh on show”. So an email was quickly drafted and circulated to the 105 would-be solicitors. It said: “We’ve been asked to draw your attention to the fact that HR has received numerous complaints about the way female trainees have been dressing around the office. The main problem seems to be very short skirts and high heels and generally looking like we’re going clubbing instead of to the office.”It went on to describe how some of them also turned up to work “without brushing their hair” and ended by stating that those “dressed inappropriately won’t be allowed to take part in client meetings” and “could be called in for uncomfortable discussions with HR about their appearance”. While this report makes for humorous reading, it also highlights the problem of unprofessional workplace attire.The legal positionLegally speaking, you can have a dress and appearance policy in order to maintain a professional business image. However, tribunals also recognise that employees have the right to individual expression. Finding a balance between the two can be hard; get it wrong for example, prohibit certain items of clothing or adornment and you may be landed with a discrimination claim.The key to enforceability lies in being able to justify your policy on business grounds. When considering what is reasonable, look at:1. the business sector you operate in and if there are any current industry standards for business dress;2. the type of work employees carry out; and3. whether or not they are in customer-facing roles.Problems generally only arise where a policy conflicts with discrimination laws. At present, you can ban clothing or jewellery even if it will be indirectly discriminatory to a particular religion if you can justify it. This is most usually done on health (hygiene) or safety grounds.If an item of jewellery isn’t required by a particular faith for example, a Christian employee wearing a cross a ban on it isn’t discriminatory.If you require smart dress, give examples of what is appropriate for example, knee length skirts, business-like shoes. Also outline what is unacceptable items such as leggings, flip-flops and shorts.Make all staff aware of your policy and any possible penalties. And don’t forget to apply the policy equally to all staff.
After a strong start that saw them take the lead through two days of play, the No. 4 USC women’s golf team could not close out the victory, nonetheless turning in a solid performance and finishing third at the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in New Orleans Tuesday.Close loss ·Sophomore Sophia Popov could not help the Women of Troy hold a lead at the Allstate Sugar Bowl. USC had a four-stroke lead Monday. – Photo courtesy of USC Sports InformationAfter leading by four strokes heading into the final round, the Women of Troy concluded play with a score of 17-over 881. Duke overcame a four-stroke deficit to win the tournament at 13-over 877, while Colorado came in second at 16-over 880.Following a resounding opening tournament at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, in which they finished second, the Trojans were determined to capture their first victory of the season. They jumped out to a quick start Sunday, recording a score of 5-over 293 to maintain small leads over Oregon and Duke. Senior Lisa McCloskey and freshman Doris Chen led the way, with McCloskey firing a 1-under 71 and Chen shooting even-par 72 to stake the Trojans to the early lead. McCloskey recorded four birdies, including two on the back nine, while Chen notched three. Sophomore Sophia Popov shot 2-over 74, going 1-over on the front and back nines, while senior Inah Park shot a 4-over 76 and sophomore Rachel Morris finished at 7-over 79.The Women of Troy extended their lead Monday, shooting a 4-over 292 for an overall score of 585. Both McCloskey and Chen shot 1-under 71 and combined for seven birdies to place second and third, respectively. Popov overcame a rough start to birdie five of her final 10 holes, coming in tied for 14th at 3-over 147. Morris matched her score to hit 14-over 158, while Park shot a 5-over 77 to end two rounds tied for 43rd.The Trojans gave up considerable ground Tuesday, surrendering their lead amid difficult conditions. McCloskey maintained her score from the previous two rounds, once again firing 1-under 71 to finish third overall. The tournament marked the fourth top-10 finish in five tournaments for McCloskey, who finished two back of Colorado’s Alex Stewart. Chen recorded her second consecutive top-10 finish, notching two birdies and finishing seventh at 1-over 217. Popov finished tied for 16th at 6-over 222 and Park tied for 46th at 13-over 229, while Morris tied for 61st at 20-over 236.Though the tournament marked the team’s second consecutive top-three finish, the Women of Troy weren’t particularly happy about the outcome.“I had a good tournament considering the course and conditions were difficult,” McCloskey said. “For me, it was a rather poor finish and unfortunately, we’re not quite happy with the third place.”The Women of Troy will next participate March 18-20 in the Battle at Rancho Bernardo, hosted by San Diego State.