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(Clothing) regulations at work: what can I wear and what not?

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"Be yourself, because there is no one who can do that better than you." Is a statement that you hear more than regularly. Quite true, because your clothing, tattoos or piercings can largely determine your identity. But there is a chance that your employer does not think your style is entirely suitable for his company. How you appear at work can make an important contribution to the image of the company. To what extent can an employer determine what you wear and what you don't wear at work? You can read it in this blog.

Dress code: the right of instruction

An employer has a so-called right of instruction when it comes to dress codes at work. This means that your employer may give instructions to employees on how to dress. As an employee, you must initially adhere to these instructions. However, the employer must have an 'objective justification' for the dress code. This means that he cannot impose a dress code without good reason. An objective justification is, for example, the pursuit of a professional image within the organization.

Dress code and belief

As described above, there must therefore be a good reason to prohibit certain clothing. For example, you will not easily see a lawyer in a belly button in a courtroom and a doctor will not perform operations in a swimming trunks. This can be extra sensitive in the case of dress codes that conflict with the fundamental rights of an employee. For example, if the dress code conflicts with religion. A breach of faith is not readily permitted, but can sometimes be necessary. For example because of company safety or hygiene.

Safety and Health

For safety or health reasons, an employer may decide to impose certain dress codes. He can also prohibit certain clothing, hairstyles or the wearing of jewelry. Sometimes these are regulations (partially) laid down in a sector, such as with the HACCP in the catering industry.


As an employee, it must be clear to you which dress code is expected of you. This also applies to, for example, wearing tattoos and piercings. Your employer may not decide overnight that you should not wear certain clothes or that you should hide your tattoo. For example, the regulations must be included in internal regulations. If there is a works council within your company, then the works council must agree to these regulations when it comes to dress regulations related to the safety of employees.

Are you approached at work by your employer about how you appear at work? Or do you have a question about this topic? Then don't hesitate to contact us. We can help you with this. We can be reached by telephone on 0345 - 851 963 and you can also email us via

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