The summer months often present unique issues for employers when it comes to dress codes, social events, and hygiene, among other things, says a new XpertHR report on summer workplace issues.
Many employers allow employees to dress more casually in the summer months. However, sundresses, midriff baring tops, spaghetti strap tank tops, and short shorts, or any other excessively revealing clothing is never appropriate for a professional setting.
Xpert HR says it is important to communicate the summer dress code policy to all employees and train supervisors so that they know:
- The employer’s expectations;
- When the policy is in effect;
- What is considered acceptable workplace attire (e.g., golf shirts, khakis, sundresses); and
- What is considered unacceptable workplace attire.
In addition, during the warm summer months, body odor and other hygiene issues may become more prevalent. An employer should address such issues head on before they have a negative effect on productivity, health, safety and public image.
According to XpertHR, a grooming policy should provide notice regarding the employer’s expectations regarding employee hygiene at work. The policy should assure supervisors and employees that any issues will be handled in a sensitive manner so as not to embarrass employees. XpertHR warns that an employer should remember that poor hygiene and/or body odor may be related to a disability or a religious belief, and therefore should be prepared to provide a reasonable accommodation.
The report also suggests an employer should make sure that its policies regarding vacation or paid time off (PTO) are communicated to all employees and placed in an employee handbook. Further, such policies should be applied in uniform manner to prevent discrimination claims.
“A prudent employer should take note of the challenging issues the summer may present and develop a set of best practices for handling these issues in order to make the workplace more productive and efficient, as well as minimize the risk of employer liability,” says Beth P. Zoller, legal editor, XpertHR.
More recommendations to help employers address summer workplace issues are available in XpertHR’s report.