Gendered uniforms and grooming standards are common in the NYC service industry. They reinforce stereotypes about gender and discriminate against people who do not follow gender norms. The NYC Commission on Human Rights protects employees from discrimination by enforcing the NYC Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The Commission can also bring any NYC employer to court for not following the Law.
The Law permits dress codes or grooming standards as long as they do not place restrictions or requirements on sex and gender. Failure to comply with the Law can result in costly legal fees and fines. This article will provide examples of Law violations. It will also explain how an employer can avoid gendered uniforms and grooming standards.
Examples of Law Violations
The Law forbids grooming standards that apply differently to people who identify as women or men or have distinctions in gender. For example, an employer cannot require different uniforms for men and women. The Law also forbids employers from making female bartenders or servers wear makeup. Furthermore, it is illegal to make employees of one gender wear a uniform that is specific to that gender. It is also against the Law to allow only employees who identify as women to wear jewelry or require only workers who identify as male to have short hair.
How to Avoid Gendered Uniforms and Grooming Standards
Employers can avoid violations of the Law by creating gender-neutral appearance standards and dress codes. Companies can also offer clothing options that are culturally male and female. For example, employers who require uniform shirts may offer a shirt that is more typical of a woman’s shirt and another that is larger like a man’s dress shirt. It is illegal, however, to ask employees to wear one style of dress instead of another.