We use our own cookies and third parties ones to offer our services and collect statistical data. If you continue browsing the internet you accept them. More information


Can companies decide how a worker should be dressed?

Labor Law
Can companies decide how a worker should be dressed?
In most countries in the world there are dress code standards in companies, these were adopted later than in Spain, the truth is that there is a work dress code that has been followed, nothing more and nothing less, since the 16th century. . Of course, this does not mean that the same rules are followed, but it does mean that there is a tradition of imposing a work attire policy. But the questions we should ask ourselves are the following:

Is this work policy mandatory or, on the contrary, is it optional?

This has generated controversies that have led to a real conflict between employers and workers, because although companies can force their employees to wear certain clothing at work, sometimes this imposition can exceed certain legal limits. when confronting several rights that are different from each other and protected by the Legal System. As an example, it is enough to point out the right to image, to occupational health and safety, the management power of the employer, the right to dignity and freedom of the worker due to gender and even for religious reasons.

Are there regulations that regulate it?

The Workers' Statute (hereinafter, ET) protects the use of dress codes, and specifically, its article 20 refers to the direction and control of work activity. This means that every worker must follow the orders or instructions adopted by the employer. However, despite the existence of this power of management of the company, it is important to ensure that the imposition of these clothing standards does not violate the rights of the worker included in the Spanish Constitution (hereinafter, CE), which also enshrines the fundamental right to one's own image and the right to equality and non-discrimination based on sex.

Is the right to privacy and self-image of workers violated?

The management power of the company includes the power to impose the use of a certain outfit on its workers during the working day, but we must not forget that this requirement is also subject to limits, since our courts, despite recognizing that the The employer has the right to decide how his workers should dress, they also resolve that these mandates must be proportional and reasonable to the sector of activity. Logically, in these cases we must leave aside those professions for which the use of a specific uniform for the performance of work is necessary and mandatory, and whose cost is usually assumed by the company itself, since these cases usually respond to protecting health and hygiene of its employees and, ultimately, to guarantee the prevention of occupational risks.

If workers fail to comply with a company's dress code, workers may be disciplined by the company. In the event that this is the case, the sanction that will be applied will be graduated depending on the seriousness of their conduct, and taking into account the possible damages that their non-compliance could have caused, establishing the grading as mild, serious or very serious. Even so, it is important to comment that the company must act with complete diligence in these situations, so it will have to act with flexibility and always justify any action taken against one of the workers.

To avoid a possible conflict between worker and employer, it would be best to establish an internal company policy, defining the minimum standards that must be followed when dressing for the performance of work activity, as well as the obligation or not to wear a type of clothing. or other clothing.

Is your dignity diminished?

According to what is established in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, for example the Judgment of TC 170/1987, of October 30, it argues that in professions such as hospitality, the image of the worker must be especially careful, avoiding long hair or beards. For their part, finance, law and consulting are some of the professions that still retain the interest in providing an impeccable appearance, with dark suits always predominating in the case of men, and a jacket and skirt, or suit, also dark in the case of men. women.

There should also be no distinctions between employees, based on whether they are men or women. An example of this can be found in the ruling of March 17, 2015 of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid, which understood that the business measure of imposing on a female worker the use of high-heeled shoes, when male employees used flat footwear , was discriminatory. Therefore, the resolution considered that the business action was completely burdensome, since both the men and women of the defendant company carried out the same task.

The ideal would be to establish a weighting criterion by which there is a perfect balance between the power of the employer and the rights and freedoms of the worker. Therefore, depending on each case, one right will prevail over the other.

Contact usand our labor lawyers will study your specific case.

At Forcam Lawyers we can assist you in person at our offices in Barcelona, Madrid and ReusWe can also serve you remotely, since we offer a telematic legal advice service (videoconference, telephone, mail, etc.) and we offer legal services throughout the national and international territory.