The company must be able to position itself on the market and present itself in its best light in front of customers and suppliers. The company's image is generally conveyed by the employees and not only by the employer.
However, some of their behaviors can sometimes be far from perfect and damage its image. The employer must take measures to safeguard its interests.
When the employee is in contact with customers or suppliers, he represents the employer and the image of the company. The employer can, in principle, impose a dress code. This power to give instructions is more limited when the employee does not have visual contact with the outside world.
If wearing a suit or tie is not a problem, imposing a certain color of underwear is more problematic.
In the relative intimacy of social networks, employees believe they are protected. They sometimes take the liberty of making indecent comments, criticizing their employer or revealing confidential information that could damage the company's image. The employer must act beforehand. He can also sanction an employee who behaves this way.
Company cocktail party
Company cocktail parties are often synonymous of a relaxed atmosphere and alcoholic drinks. However, this is a professional event. The employer must take measures to avoid any slippage. Otherwise, an alcoholic employee who dances on the table, sings dirty songs or puts his hand on a colleague's backside risks engaging the employer's responsibility and damaging the company's image.
Mobbing and sexual harassment
Mobbing and sexual harassment are serious behaviors. They affect the work environment and are likely to cause the victim to be unable to work.
In order to protect the personality of his/her employees and to safeguard the company's image, the employer must take the necessary measures to prevent and put an end to these situations quickly.
Drugs and alcohol in the workplace
An employee who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the workplace can cause safety hazards to co-workers and others while intoxicated. He or she may not be able to perform his or her job properly or may use inappropriate language. These behaviors can damage the company's image.
The employer may dismiss the employee, with immediate effect in particularly serious cases.
Alcoholism or drug addiction, however, may be considered an illness and thus an inherent part of the employee's personality. The employer must be vigilant. When terminating an employee for a reason inherently related to the employee’s personality, the risk of wrongful termination is never good.
Love at work
Idylls at work, around the coffee machine, are common. These relationships are part of the employee's private sphere, which the employer must respect.
However, when these relationships turn sour, the situation quickly becomes problematic. From accusations of sexual harassment to arguments in front of customers and suppliers, the employer must take the necessary steps to preserve the company's image.
Some customers and suppliers may not appreciate being confronted with ostentatious signs, such as the wearing of a veil. The company may wish to maintain religious neutrality.
These interests of the employer may conflict with the religious freedom of the employee, which the employer must in principle respect and protect. To know, in a specific case, if the interests of the company's image are superior to the religious freedom of the employee is far from easy.
Can the employer forbid a secretary to wear a veil? What about an executive or an accountant? Can he forbid the wearing of a veil but allow the wearing of a Christian cross?