I have a very successful client who owns an Estate Agent and as most of his staff are client-facing, the dress-code in his workplace is ‘business smart’. However, one of his male members of staff was refusing to wear a tie, as they give him migraines. As he produced a doctor’s note to confirm this, my client was at a bit of a loss as to what to do.
Despite the medical note, I decided I needed to do some research myself, and there are some studies that show that neck-ties can cause tension and pain in the neck and head: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204909104577235313412770808
I also discovered the obligatory celeb who supports this idea: http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/article/TMG8550999/Tom-Ford-gets-something-off-his-chest.html
And those who believe that wearing a tie is a cure for migraines (tie it tight around your head)!
Anyway, apparently 67% of men buy shirts that are too small for their necks which can in turn reduce circulation to the brain, or result in muscle tension in the back and shoulders – so it may not be the tie at all:)
Back to our client
Our objective: to find a solution that would work for both the employee – no migraines and the employer – a smart employee
- Ensure your employee understands why you have a dress code
- Discuss some options to reduce the tightness around the neck, without removing the tie
- loosen the tie
- wear a bigger collar size
- Undo the top button of the shirt
- try clip-on ties
- Ensure that you are clear about the implications if they continue to refuse to wear a tie
In most cases, reaching a compromise that both you and your staff are happy with is a far more desirable outcome than taking any further action.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when creating a dress code policy in your workplace:
- Be practical and safe – Take into account what your staff are doing on a daily basis, who will they meet? Are they going to be travelling? Will they lift anything heavy?
- Beconsistentwith your dress code- A lot of the discrimination claims that arise out of dress codes really arise out of their inconsistent application.
- Make sure you consider all the racial, gender and religious implications of your dress code.
- Make your code clear – ensure there’s a policy that staff can easily access (via a handbook or their manager) to find out what is expected of them.
- Get some advice to make sure you’re prepared.