dress code

You Can’t Wear That!

Another update from the Jungle….

Bob enjoyed his vacation so much that he hated to come back to work.  Today he showed up still dressed for the beach.  Cindy, the HR manager, was aghast and choked on a mouthful of coffee when she caught a glimpse of Bob passing in the hallway.

Bob is the star salesman for the company and an all-around good guy. He’s an extrovert who tells good jokes. He has a way of talking to people that makes each individual feel valued. But he’s also a bit of a rebel and he’ll stretch the rules because he knows he’s privileged due to his sales ability. Cindy likes Bob and she usually cuts him some slack when he bends the rules.

Now she’s having heart palpitations, not in a good way, because she just saw Bob walking down the hall looking like an episode of Magnum, PI.  He’s wearing a very loud Hawaiian shirt, flip flops, and very short shorts.

Cindy spent two years convincing the socially conservative company president that relaxing the dress code during the summer months would be good for morale. The president only recently accepted the notion that women’s work attire can include pants suits or slacks, a concept most companies adopted in the 1970’s. To convince him to loosen the rules, she had to create detailed lists of clothing that is appropriate as business casual.

Cindy suspects the president will have an apoplectic fit if he sees Bob’s current wardrobe choice. Cindy drops her coffee mug and chases Bob down the hall to invite him into her office for a quiet chat.

What are Cindy’s options?

  1. She can ask Bob where he bought his clothes so that she can upgrade her husband’s wardrobe for their August vacation.
  2. She can send Bob home with instructions to change his clothes. Of course, there is no guarantee Bob will follow her instructions or return later today.
  3. She can review the business casual definition with Bob and ask why he is not complying with it. She can always hope that he has an acceptable excuse for ignoring the rules.

At this time of year, many companies struggle with the definition of “business casual”.   Striking the balance between comfort and professionalism will vary by company but should reflect the company’s image or brand.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Halloween is a Scream

Another update from the Jungle….
image039Nicole is the HR manager for her company and she’s had a tough time for the past few years. Her company avoided layoffs but they haven’t given pay raises in years. Nicole tries to find other ways to boost employee morale.

This month’s morale booster is a Halloween party on the Friday closest to October 31st. Nicole emails employees encouraging them to come in their favorite costumes and compete for prizes. Poor Nicole! Even after years of experience in the HR world, she’s still a bit naïve.

Her email has barely hit the company’s intranet when Steve slouches in to her office to complain that he won’t attend the party if he has to wear a costume. He also demands that suitable adult beverages be served at the party. Nicole isn’t that naïve. She vetoes alcohol.

Then Ruth walks into her office to say that her church forbids Halloween parties because they encourage worship of the devil. She threatens to sue for religious discrimination if she’s forced to attend the party. Ruth also says that competing for prizes is gambling which is prohibited by her faith, state law, and the employee handbook.

After a quick review of company policy, Nicole concludes that prizes of nominal value won’t result in her arrest, so she forges
image042 ahead with her party plans. Friday arrives and Nicole decorates the break room with the help an elf, a 1930’s railroad hobo, and a clown. Then she rewards herself with a glass of (non-alcoholic) punch as she watches the employees file in for the party.

Suddenly, her glass of punch slips from her hand and she stifles a scream as she watches Tina sashay into the break room. Tina is wearing three-inch stiletto heels and a scanty outfit modeled on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

What should Nicole do next?

  1. She can ask Steve to find the nearest liquor store and buy her a restorative drink to help her recover from the shock of seeing Tina.
  2. She can award Tina the prize for most innovative costume.
  3. She can escort Tina from the break room before the president sees his CIO decked out like a (high end) call girl.

Has your company ever held a holiday party that went awry? Stay tuned for more adventures as Nicole navigates through the holiday season this year.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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