Why can't we wear shorts to work

Can I go to work in shorts?

Guide - labor law More on the topic: labor law, clothing, summer, hairstyle, employer, employee, employment contract, dress code

Heat at work: as an employee, what do I need to know about dress codes?

It's finally summer again. The sun is shining and it is pleasantly warm outside. Unfortunately, there are also unpleasant sides to this: While you can simply dress like summer at home, you have to sweat in long work clothes at work. Or not? In an interview with 123recht.de, attorney Andreas Orth explains what the employer's dress code is and what is not allowed.

If you have no customer contact, summer clothing can be allowed

123recht.de: Mr Orth, despite the hot summer temperatures, all the men in the company come to work with long trousers. Short pants don't seem to be common. Can an employee still just put on shorts?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Unless it is an industry in which seriousness is conveyed through the appearance and is also expected through appropriate clothing, e.g. in customer dealings at a bank or as an employee in a tax consultancy office, every employee should be free to choose whether to act accordingly high summer temperatures appear to work or not even in shorts.

In Australia, for example, it is common for construction workers to wear shorts. That would certainly also be possible here in summer, e.g. on the construction site or on the roof as a roofer, of course always with the appropriate footwear.

However, it is not advisable to appear in shorts in industries such as banking, which have to pay attention to seriousness. There is usually a dress code there.

But one should be very careful whether it is even necessary to wear shorts. You don't have to put on shorts at just 20 degrees when you work in an air-conditioned office. There aren't that many days with real heat in our part of the year.

123recht.de: So what does an employee who, e.g. as a programmer, sit all the time in a room where there is no customer contact?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Someone who has no customer contact should orientate himself towards his boss. If he has a casual style, then there is nothing wrong with it. Otherwise, of course, there is generally nothing wrong with appearing in short pants as a programmer. As is customary in the industry, a programmer is not expected to have a perfect outfit, but rather even something innovative, which also goes with shorts.

There is no right to short pants

123recht.de: Can one say in principle: there is no right to short pants?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Right, there is no such thing. The employer can generally prescribe long trousers as mandatory work clothing. But there are certainly limits and it would be nonsense to tell a lifeguard in an outdoor pool to wear long trousers. It won't happen. Should it be so, the employee could certainly successfully claim the limits of the right of direction as exceeded. It is of course a different matter if long trousers were stipulated in the employment contract, then the following applies: contract is contract.

123recht.de: If an employer bans shorts for men across the board, but dresses are okay for women - doesn't that violate the principle of equality?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Well, it has to be a comparable group in the same system. Here they are all human, but the differentiation of gender in clothing makes sense, at least in the western-oriented world. In my opinion, it is permissible to differentiate here. Equal rights for everyone would also mean that men would then also be allowed to wear a dress. That would be consistent then. But that is still not socially adequate today. The tartan skirt or a toga are quite common male clothing, for example in ancient times. So why not wear a garment for men too? So that's more a question of the zeitgeist. However, I do not see gender discrimination in the ban.

Employers can amicably expand customary regulations through employment contracts

123recht.de: What is the employer allowed to regulate the appearance of his employees and where does it collide with the employee's personal rights?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Depending on the industry, only basic regulations may be made, such as wearing covered clothing with a tie, no jeans, no sandals, for example. Further regulations would have to have a compelling reason, otherwise the right to develop one's personality is actually affected and an interference cannot be justified. In the case of a mutually agreed provision in the employment contract, an additional provision is certainly also permissible.

123recht.de: Then let's ask a little more specifically: What about hair? So about hair length, hair color, hair condition, hairstyle?

Attorney Andreas Orth: The hairstyle is always an issue in the public service, but it has been clarified since even long hair in the armed forces or jewelry on the face must be tolerated. Even tattoos are now in vogue. But there are certainly limits to what is bearable - and in private work, it is also a question of the individual case. A well-groomed pigtail in a pinstripe suit can make a difference, also in the banking and co.

The well-groomed hair is something that cannot be dismissed from the hand. The beard issue is a good example of controversial opinions. Sometimes you actually get the impression that the more broken down, the better. But what some see as a casual outdoor look is a bum sight for others. In the workplace, you should keep it more classic because of the effect. A fresh shave always makes a good impression.

Three-day beards with gray stubble often give the impression, with all due respect, especially in the case of older men in decision-making positions, as if they have just emerged from a homeless shelter. Especially when they appear on photos in the newspaper. But well, that is also due to the zeitgeist and everything is fluid here. One should not polarize in public or with customers. Women should not put themselves in the foreground with flashy hair colors, but rather choose the adapted variant if in doubt. Especially as a service provider.

123recht.de: Can the employer tell women to put on make-up - or prohibit too conspicuous make-up?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Surely you will also recommend a secretary or receptionist to put on make-up, but can you tell her to do so? Safe in the employment contract when the appearance is important. The boss may have the right to have make-up applied in the fashion industry, but otherwise not. Otherwise, that could go into the area of ​​discrimination and, in my opinion, a general make-up requirement generally goes too far. The overall impression is also decisive here. Avoid a well-groomed appearance, penetrating body odor, more is probably not possible.

Workers should wear appropriate footwear

123recht.de: Can closed shoes be prescribed, or e.g. the height of heels for women?

Attorney Andreas Orth: In my opinion, wearing sandals or even flip-flops is generally a no go. Sandals are typical casual shoes and that doesn't really make sense anywhere in the job. Women should also wear closed shoes and at least stockings if their toes are already sticking out. There is nothing more devastating, in my opinion, than unkempt feet and toes. Women in the world of work often underestimate this.

Heels should always be subtle and low. A workplace is not a place to dance or have fun. Incidentally, this also makes it difficult to get ahead and you make yourself ridiculous if the lady then kinks in high-heeled shoes. These clack-clack noises are also often annoying for the customer. I am thinking of a counter in the bank or a court hall.

If in doubt, employees should talk to the boss

123recht.de: How should employees react if they feel that the employer is telling them about their choice of outfit?

Attorney Andreas Orth: In the event of a dispute, you should of course always seek conversation and have arguments ready. As a programmer, for example, that he has no customer contact, or that this is now being well received by customers because Heidi Klum is currently wearing it or a goatee is in. But, if the boss says no, then you should simply accept it, because you work for someone and not for yourself. You get your reward for accepting the company and its philosophy in matters of clothing and the outside world. Otherwise you should consider counteracting this by changing your job if you feel too restricted in your personality.

A termination due to a choice of clothes is only possible after a prior warning

123recht.de: Can an employee be dismissed for their choice of clothing?

Attorney Andreas Orth: Termination due to a choice of clothes is certainly only permissible in exceptional cases. For this, a few discussions and warnings would have to have preceded and there would really have to be facts that could be warned. That should only be the case in extreme cases and with persistent violation. You should think about whether you are at the right reception if you are styling yourself like you go to the party in the evening, just because you feel comfortable. That's selfish.

123recht.de: Do you have examples of judgments that are interesting and relevant to the current world of work?

Attorney Andreas Orth: A seller of high-quality articles must appear in a cloakroom that corresponds to the "character of the products" & lpar; LAG Hamm, decision of v. 22.10.1991, Az. 13 Ta BV 36/91 & rpar ;.

In summary, it can be said how the LAG Cologne had already decided in 2010:

“An overall balance is required between the intensity of the intervention and the weight of the reasons justifying it; the limit of reasonableness must not be exceeded ", & lpar; LAG Cologne, Az .: 3 TaBV 15/10 & rpar;

This is of course to be interpreted specifically for the industry.

123recht.de: Thank you for the informative interview.

With best regards

Andreas Orth LL.M.Eur.
Feldmannstrasse 26th
D - 66119 Saarbrücken
Tel .: 0681/9102551
Fax .: 0681/9102764

Email: [email protected]
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