May 2014 HR Brain Teaser

Brain Teaser Courtesy of EPLI Pro™

Handbook Revisions

Mary has been hired as the HR Director for a large manufacturing company. One of the first things the Company President, her boss, asks her to do is update the employee handbook. Seems like a reasonable request. A quick review reveals that many of the policies are outdated, or worse, dead-wrong! Mary informs her boss that the handbook will most likely need a complete overhaul. Her boss laughs and says that HR people are too worrisome and he’s certain that the handbook just needs a few “touch-ups”.

Not wanting to argue with her new boss, Mary heads back to her office and sits down to carefully review the handbook.

Dress Code

All employees are expected to dress appropriately for the workplace. All employees are required to report to work in the proper safety gear prior to entering the manufacturing plant. No exceptions will be made for any reason or for any amount of time. Failure to report to work in your safety gear and remain in your gear for your entire shift will result in discipline, up to and including, termination.

What recommendation should Mary make to her boss regarding this policy?

A.  The policy is solid, no changes needed.

B.  The policy is problematic because employers can’t tell employees what to wear.

C.  An employer can dictate how employees dress at work; however, the policy should be revised to allow for limited exceptions.

Answer:  C   As written, the “Dress Code” policy is too restrictive. In choosing a dress code policy, companies need to be mindful of the fact that a company may need to make an accommodation for a religious belief or a disability. Deleting the statement “no exceptions will be made for any reason or for any amount of time” may be enough to correct the policy.

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