Many workplaces have dress codes and grooming requirements that employees are expected to adhere to. Unsurprisingly, such codes can lead to instances of discrimination, intentional or otherwise.
Unintentional discrimination in the workplace can occur when an employer imposes standards of conduct that result in prejudices against certain employees. Employers can still be held liable for discrimination even if it does not knowingly discriminate.
What is Unintentional Discrimination in the Workplace?
Unintentional discrimination can occur when employers’ policies adversely affect a specific group of employees of a certain race, gender, age or any other protected classification. These policies can seem as though they are neutral but end up having a disparate or adverse impact.
In terms of grooming, workplaces often impose limitations or specifications on:
- Hair Length
Employers may also apply different standards for men and women, resulting in discrimination.WorkplaceWorkplace dress codes can also have a disparate or adverse impact on a specific group of employees, resulting in unintentional discrimination, such as:
Certain dress codes or grooming policies can be exceptionally difficult for a disabled person to adhere to. If they are not granted appropriate accommodations or exceptions to these dress codes, there may be a case of discrimination.
Some employers enforce different dress codes and grooming standards for men and women, and they typically conform to traditional (or stereotypical) conceptions of gender. For example, an employer expecting or requiring women to dress more “feminine” is problematic, for example. Depending on the situation, such expectations can delve into discrimination.
Many of the world’s religions include specific grooming or dress requirements as part of their observance. As you might expect, this can present conflict with company-enforced dress codes and grooming standards. If an employer is unable or unwilling to provide reasonable accommodations or religious exceptions, they could be held liable for religious discrimination.
An Experienced NJ Discrimination Attorney Can Help You
If you have experienced unintentional discrimination in the workplace due to dress codes, grooming standards, or more, consider reaching out to McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.
With offices in Red Bank, NJ, Marlton, NJ, and Newark, NJ, our lawyers are known for their ability to provide effective advocacy and protect employees’ careers. Having handled cases for both employers and employees, we understand the specific tactical and strategic issues involved on both sides of an unintentional discrimination case. With our depth and breadth of experience, we can anticipate challenges and work tirelessly to overcome them.
Contact us today for a free consultation.