You may have a dress code at work for safety and presentation reasons.


It may be necessary to cover hair, and cover or remove jewellery or some types of clothing, so that they don’t get caught in machinery or contaminate food products. Identify what the risks are and develop your policy to eliminate, isolate or minimise those risks.


Decide what is important to your business image.  This will vary depending on the type of operation and is not a one size fits all situation.  However, your policy should be applied consistently so it is not discriminatory.

Employers have got into difficulties trying to enforce standards of dress as employees push the boundaries of what is acceptable.  We recommend keeping a general discretion on what is acceptable and not trying to list every possibility.  In many cases the following will cover the position:

Staff are expected to be professional in appearance at all times including, but not limited to, matters of clothing, jewellery, footwear and hairstyle.  The employer will be the sole judge of whether the required standard is being met.

Do not make the code part of employment agreements because, if you do, you then need the employee’s consent to change it.  Put it in your work place policy manual and ensure you bring it to all employees’ attention and are consistent in how you enforce it.

If you have a particular rule about some item, such as jewellery, then make that clear to staff before they start and include it in your policy.  Although you can decide on what is acceptable you still need to deal with matters as a fair and reasonable employer.