May an employer have a dress code requiring female employees to wear a skirt?

Author: William Denham, Shortt & Nguyen, PC

Yes. Dress code policies, such as requiring female employees to wear a skirt, are generally permissible as long as the standards are reasonable and not unduly burdensome or motivated by gender stereotypes. However, certain state or local laws (e.g., California) may require that employers permit employees to appear or dress consistently with their gender identity or expression (e.g., a male employee who identifies as female may be allowed to wear a skirt since that meets the employer's dress code standards).

Any dress code requirement should be based on a legitimate business need (e.g., to foster a professional atmosphere) and should be applied to all employees uniformly.

Exceptions to a dress code may need to be made in order to accommodate an employee's religious belief or observance (including religious dress and grooming practices), medical condition or disability (e.g., if an employee's disability prevents them from wearing a skirt, it may be a reasonable accommodation to allow them to wear pants).

All dress code requirements should be clearly outlined and communicated to all employees and supervisors.