Can an employer require different dress codes for men and women?
A reader asks about the legality of gender-based dress requirements.
I wait tables at an upscale restaurant chain. Until a few weeks ago, our company had a fairly standard dress code for wait staff: black slacks, white shirt, and a generally neat appearance. At our last staff meeting, the manager announced that the company was adopting stricter grooming requirements for wait staff and hosts. Men must have short hair; women may have long hair, but must pull it back. Men can't wear makeup, but women must. Men can't wear facial jewelry. And, although the general clothing requirements are the same, women must now choose between a particular brand of slacks designed for women or a particular skirt; men are still free to wear any black pants and white shirt they want. Is it legal to have different standards like this?