Workplace Dress Codes for Transgender Employees: General Guidelines

When it comes to dress code regulations, businesses should bear in mind diversity and inclusiveness. Corporate dress code rules should enable transgender workers to feel comfortable with their gender identification in the workplace, and should not prohibit them from retaining a gender-neutral look. Furthermore, as seen with business casual dress code regulations, businesses experience a competitive advantage by giving all workers freedom to choose their work attire.

Forcing men to wear suits and ties, and women to wear skirts and stockings, is based on gender stereotypes.

It is recommended that companies implement dress code requirements in a gender-neutral way to prevent these preconceptions, such as mandating clothing that is generally suitable for the office or department in which an employee is working.

Here are the examples of gender-neutral dress codes suitable for transgender workers:

  • Traditional Business Clothing: In general, traditional business clothing, such as suits, dresses, and ties, are needed for events requiring interaction with customers, partners, or the public. Business casual clothing may be suitable in certain situations or when a customer has explicitly stated that it would be appropriate. At all times, workers are required to use good discretion and dress in a way compatible with the company’s professional values.
  • Business Casual Clothing: Casual business, usually consisting of casual trousers and skirts, polo shirts, blouses, and sweaters, is acceptable clothing at all corporate offices and for most circumstances. Exceptions to business casual standards include those instances where an employee is representing the organization to prospective business partners.
  • Inappropriate Clothing: Inappropriate clothing includes, but is not restricted to, active sportswear, leggings, shorts, short skirts, trainers, slippers or similar footwear, T-shirts or sweaters with advertising slogans, as well as untidy or excessively exposing clothes. Employees are required to use good discretion in selecting their work attire. If an employee is dressed inappropriately for work, their boss may urge them to leave and come back dressed properly. The time it takes to make the modification is not included in the calculation of hours spent.

Employers should clearly establish and communicate expectations for dress code compliance with their workers. To make things simpler, an employer can prepare a list specifying the types of clothing that employees are allowed and not allowed to wear to work.

It’s unacceptable for companies to monitor or control what their workers wear outside of work hours.

Transgender workers can express themselves in various ways outside of work, but employers are not allowed to enquire about these activities or penalize them, and such actions are considered an explicit violation of human rights.

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