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Dress Code Policies and Procedures Insubordination

Our company has a dress code requiring all employees to dress “business casual.” The policy says nothing else. When I wore a top that revealed my midriff, my manager said not to wear it again because it is not business casual. If the policy is for employees to refrain from wearing this type of apparel, it should say so. Please advise.

Setting the manual aside for a moment, if your manager says you are violating this policy or any other policy, you should think seriously about what she is saying. Unless showing your midriff is more important than keeping this job, you might want to consider some attire that literally covers the issue.

In most industries, managers would agree that clothing that reveals a midriff does not fall into the category of business casual. In addition, language in employee handbooks can be intentionally vague so that employers need not list every possible infraction of a given rule. And handbooks that do so are likely to include language such as, “Inappropriate apparel includes but is not limited to the following….”

You could air your concerns to a higher level of management if you sense some discriminatory issue related to this matter, or if you can prove that you were promised that such apparel is appropriate. However, you also ask yourself if there are other issues at work that are the real source of your dissatisfaction. Is the fight for a bare midriff worth pursuing? In most cases, it is barely worthwhile.

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