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Hijabs, Tattoos, Dreadlocks, and More: Appearance Policy Drafting and Enforcement Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble - On-Demand

Hijabs, Tattoos, Dreadlocks, and More: Appearance Policy Drafting and Enforcement Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble - On-Demand

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Hijabs, Tattoos, Dreadlocks, and More: Appearance Policy Drafting and Enforcement Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble - On-Demand

Webinar now available On-Demand.

WEBINAR SNAPSHOT: Learn how to draft dress and grooming policies and when to adjust to comply with the law, as well as how to instill a culture of respect for employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and accommodations—and how to enforce policies when warranted.

Are you confused by your employees’ appearance?

Do you feel their facial hair, tattoos, or dreadlocks violate your organization’s dress code?

What about employees whose religion requires them to wear certain articles or symbols of their beliefs, such as turbans or hijabs?

Do you feel this detracts and goes against your dress code or grooming policy?

Requiring your employees to conform to a certain look can result in a discrimination lawsuit that can end up costing your organization. There are legal limits on what you can require of employees whose religion requires them to dress in a certain manner. The recent legal issues around employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs are a reminder that employers need to be careful about how they draft or enforce their dress or grooming policies.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has successfully pursued numerous claims related to grooming and dress for religious reasons. Abercrombie & Fitch found out that even the U.S. Supreme Court did not approve of its failing to hire a job applicant who interviewed wearing a head scarf. The clothing retailer argued that the applicant never stated she wore the head covering for religious reasons, although the interviewer assumed it was the reason. However, the employer decided not to hire her based on their neutral policy that employees were not supposed to wear head coverings. The Supreme Court decided that, even though A&F did not ask about the applicant’s religious beliefs, the company erred in not hiring her because of the head scarf.

There are multiple issues that can arise around dress and grooming policies, especially when it comes to sincerely held religious beliefs. Employers need to be flexible and take care when it comes to enforcement. If there are legitimate safety concerns behind the policy, for example a policy against dreadlocks for employees who work around heavy machinery, employers should think through possible accommodations.

Use this on-demand webinar to learn the legal issues that could trip you up and how to stay within your legal limits when drafting and enforcing dress and grooming policies. Attorney Maggie Hanson from Davis Brown Law Firm will explain what you can and cannot do when it comes to religious symbols or attire.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Draft a grooming/dress policy that allows for flexibility regarding religious beliefs
  • Reasonably enforce the dress and grooming code, with adjustments for sincerely held religious beliefs where possible
  • Identify alternatives if there are safety concerns regarding hair, hijabs, or other religious emblems
  • Talk with an employee if there is a safety hazard, to explain the reasoning
  • Evaluate whether an “undue hardship” would result if a religious accommodation is granted
  • Avoid retaliating against employees who request religious accommodations
  • Avoid “hiding” employees who wear religious clothing because you are afraid that your clients won’t like it
  • Communicate tolerance and professionalism to avoid confrontations in the workplace over differing opinions about religious beliefs
  • And much more!


About Your Presenters

Margaret A. Hanson

Margaret A. Hanson, Esq.
Davis Brown Law Firm

Maggie Hanson is a rising leader and employment attorney with a focus on litigation and insurance defense. She advises and defends employers, managers, and HR professionals in court, mediation, arbitration, and administrative forums. Hanson defends a wide variety of employer clients including rental property management companies, insurance companies, not-for-profit organizations, and manufacturers in disputes related to: labor and unions, discrimination/harassment, civil rights claims, FMLA, wrongful termination, breach of contract/compete agreements, and unemployment claims. She also helps employers avoid litigation by conducting employee trainings, drafting policies, advising on policy implementation, and reviewing existing policies and procedures for compliance.