Dress codes (2) – Work dress code

This is the second activity of a thematic unit on dress codes. This document focuses on dress codes in the work place. Thinking about notions such as respectability and corporate image will encourage them to consider more broadly the norms about clothing. The speaker is Josephine Van Lierop, who is from New Zealand, the video therefore gives students the opportunity to listen to an accent different from GA or RP. 

Watch this video, entitled Your legal rights in the UK, by Josephine Van Lierop from Slater and Gordon Lawyers, and answer the following questions. 


1. Which factors allow employers to ask for their employees to dress a certain way?

2. If you work on a building site, what can be required for you to wear?

3. If you work in an office, what can be required from you in terms of physical appearance, besides wearing a certain type of clothes?

4. In relation to gender, what can and can’t employers do?

5. Is any employer allowed to ask someone to wear lipstick?

6. What are the two synonyms of “nasty comment” that Josephine Van Lierop uses?

7. If you don’t want to wear what your employer wants you to, what are the steps that you can follow? Why does Josephine Van Lierop end on this piece of advice?

8. At some point in the video, Josephine Van Lierop mentions “protected characteristics”. Which examples does she give of such characteristics? What are the other ones? What does this refer to in UK law?

9. Where does Josephine’s accent come from? Pick a word that she pronounces in a different way that what you are used to, and deduce what phonetic variation is at stake.

10. Have you ever been asked to wear a certain type of clothes for a job? Did you find it reasonable? If not, what did you do about it?

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