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Workplace Attire in the Summer

With the arrival of summer and scorching temperatures employee dress standards can become lax, putting management in a sticky situation. Obviously it's impractical to force employees to adhere to such rigid dress policies as formal business suits in 90+° weather; but at the same time, spaghetti straps, flip flops, and short-shorts can be unprofessional and distracting.

The trick is to strike the right balance between casual and formal attire. While formal attire supports an atmosphere of professionalism, there are benefits to casual attire as well. Casual dress acts as an indicator to employees that management is not rigid and doesn't micromanage something as minor as clothing choice. After all, this is the workplace, not Catholic school. There's also the actual savings in employees' time and effort, making them more productive. High heels alone cause nearly three million women to suffer serious injuries which require medical attention.

By law, employers are allowed to establish policies or guidelines for employee attire as long as these policies do not violate anti-discrimination laws (e.g., religious attire -- protected under the First Amendment). Your best bet is to institute a flexible dress policy as there are fewer chances of the policy violating state religious discrimination laws. Set a standard for appropriate business attire in the office and then provide examples of apparel which are prohibited such as bare midriffs or jeans. Let employees exercise their "good judgment" when it comes to dress, but make it clear that there is an expectation of a "neat, clean and professional" appearance.

Be sure to confirm any final policies against the laws in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure your compliance.

Social Media in the Workplace

Obviously, checking your Facebook or other social media site during work is a good way to get you fired. But, did you know that it can keep you from being hired in the first place? Many employers are beginning to monitor a potential employee’s online identity in order to make informed decisions on who they are hiring. You may ask yourself, “Is this even legal?” Well, according to the federal government, it is.

In June, the feds dropped an investigation of a company called Social Intelligence Corporation that scours the Internet, digging up dirt on potential employees. The company brags about outing suspect job seekers, such as a man who “liked” a racist page on Facebook, was a member of a campaign, and another man that was illegally seeking prescription pain killers on the online marketplace, Craigslist.

Of course, social media in the workplace isn’t completely off limits. In fact, many companies have embraced the technological boom and created Facebook and Twitter pages for their companies; giving customers a way to keep in touch with important updates about their company. Check out this blog for more information on how social media can help your business.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re at work and what you’re doing is not work related, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Most of us are guilty of the occasional online distraction, but be sure not to let it get out of hand. Also, when searching for a job, be conscious of the fact that your online identity will likely be a character test to your potential employer. The more private you are in your online social life, the better.

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