Gendered Dress Codes in the Workplace

Gendered Dress Codes

Gendered dress codes are popular in bars and restaurants, but they are against the law in NYC. They are against the law because the NYC Commission on Human Rights considers them a form of gender discrimination. Additionally, the Commission fights gender discrimination by enforcing the NYC Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). They can also bring any employer who does not abide by the Law to court. Companies must understand the Law in order to promote equality and avoid costly legal fees. This article will explore gendered dress codes and why they are illegal.

What Are Gendered Dress Codes and Why Are They Illegal?
Gendered Dress Codes for Bartenders
Gendered dress codes are commonly found in bars and restaurants.

It is against the Law to require different dress codes and grooming standards for people because of their gender or sex. The Law permits different standards based on sex and gender as long as they are not an unnecessary burden. It is important to note that this burden must be proven by a plaintiff if they want to press charges.

Some courts have allowed slight differences based on gender because they did not create a great burden. For example, some courts have permitted requirements that female bartenders wear makeup. In one case, a court permitted the requirement that male waiters wear ties.While several courts allowed gendered dress codes, many courts have found them impermissible. For example, the Commission fined one employer for making female employees wear overtly sexual outfits.

The Commission does not require proof that different dress codes or grooming standards create an unequal burden for them to consider it as gender discrimination. The fact that the grooming standards or dress codes differ based on gender is enough for the Commission to consider it unlawful–even if it is seemingly innocuous. Furthermore, the Commission recognizes that gendered dress codes serve no legitimate purpose. They also understand that these dress codes reinforce a culture of sex stereotypes.