We like to think of ourselves as a corporate socially responsible company that encourages charity and community work, which makes saying no to this next employee request quite difficult. It’s breast cancer awareness month soon (October) and one of our employees wants to dye her hair pink to highlight the campaign. That doesn’t worry me personally but the employee is front-facing and deals with many of our customers, some of whom I reckon could be quite conservative. October is a busy month for us. I worry I might lose business or she might just shock our customers, especially if the reason for the unusual hair colour isn’t picked up by them. Should I embrace my employee’s social responsibility leanings and even celebrate it (and face possible loss of customer credibility)? Or might there be employment law ramifications if I say no to the intended change? What happens if the employee dyes her hair anyway? Can I take disciplinary action?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 9 March 2016
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

Assuming that the Company does not have a dress code, the Company should refer the employee to any contractual obligation and/or policy in place requiring the employee to act/dress appropriately in the work place. The Company should explain that considering that her position requires face-to-face contact with customers, an extreme appearance such as pink hair would damage the Company’s credibility and reputation amongst its customers.

It should be explained that if she proceeds with dying her hair, the Company will have no option but to initiate its disciplinary procedure. If a dress code is in place, the employee should be referred to the applicable section of the code and appropriate

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email zelda.cunningham@arthurcox.com

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