In terms of work attire, there are two types of interests that clash. The employee wants to be able to dress as he or she wishes and, especially in hot weather, to wear lighter clothing. The employer, on the other hand, is bound by his/her obligation to protect the health of his/her employees and to prevent situations of sexual harassment. He/she also has an interest in preserving the image of his company.
Health and safety
The employer can and must give instructions to his/her employees regarding work clothes when their health or safety is at stake. This is also the case for reasons of hygiene and health of customers, especially in the restaurant or pharmaceutical industry.
However, it is known that some employees do not always respect the directives of their employer. In hot weather, some employees are reluctant to wear helmets, masks or protective gloves. The employer must react. If they do not, they will be held liable in the event of an accident.
Summer is sometimes accompanied by more revealing clothing, which can lead to rude or inappropriate comments from colleagues. When an employee decides to wear a religious symbol in the workplace, such as a veil, this can create tension within the company.
The employer has an obligation to prevent and put an end to situations of sexual harassment and conflicts in the workplace. The balance between personal freedom to choose one's dress and the interests of the employer is sometimes difficult to find.
Employees who are in contact with customers or suppliers represent the company. The employer can regulate their work clothes when it comes to preserving the company's image. However, the employer cannot go too far, at the risk of infringing on the personality of his/her employees.
In certain professions, wearing a uniform is customary. The employer can impose a specific dress code on his/her employees. In principle, employees may not object to this.
In order to regulate work clothes, the employer can and is sometimes obliged to establish a directive. Its drafting is however delicate because the employer must take into account a certain number of elements, in particular the freedom of expression of his/her employees.