Casual Dress Codes Prevalent in US Workplaces, Survey Finds

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

September 6, 2019

Few employers have a formal dress code, according to a new survey.

Almost eight in 10 respondents to a survey conducted by the staffing and recruitment company Randstad reported that their current employer's dress code policy is either business casual (26%), casual (33%) or non-existent/no dress code at all (20%). The remaining respondents said their company's dress code policy is conservative/traditional business attire (suits in neutral tones, plain collared shirt, smart dress shoes) either every day of the week (13%) or most days of the week except "casual Fridays" (8%).

In addition to being the norm in most workplaces, casual dress codes are strongly preferred by many employees. One in three employees surveyed said they would prefer an informal dress code to an extra $5,000 in salary. One in three also said they would quit their job or turn down a job offer if they were required to follow a conservative dress code.

Implementing a dress code can help an employer promote a positive image and emphasize the importance of professionalism among employees. However, employees may bring discrimination claims based on dress or grooming policies if the policy has an adverse impact on a protected class such as religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Furthermore, as the survey suggests, dress codes may impact employee recruitment and retention.