Employee Dress Code and Appearance

Employee Dress Code and Appearance

Most salons have a dress code or uniform policy, but what can you do if someone turns up for work inappropriately dressed or with their hair or makeup a mess.


The first stage is to make sure that you have a dress and appearance policy as part of your employee’s contract of employment. This may set out what they can wear and a list of what they can’t and could also cover rules on things like jewellery, piercings, tattoos and hair. You can also state that hair and makeup needs to be ‘salon ready’ at the opening time as we often hear of problems with staff finishing their grooming in the salon, after the normal opening time. Any policy needs to be reasonable, for example can you justify why you’ve set certain standards and rules?

If you don’t have a policy then you can introduce one fairly easily, although this would be considered a change of the employment terms and conditions. We have a Fact Sheet that covers this topic which you can view here.

Deal with it!

If an employee does turn up in breach of your dress and appearance policy, then don’t ignore the problem. It’s easy to think that you’ll deal with the issue later or tomorrow, but it’s much better to speak to them informally about it straight away and potentially send them home to get changed or made up. This sends a very clear message to them and everyone else as to your expectations.

You have to be fair and treat everyone in the same way

If the problem continues the next stage would be to hold a meeting with the employee and remind them of your dress and appearance policy. It’s possible they had forgotten about it or they didn’t read it properly, or they have an explanation for the problem.

However, if they persist in breaching your policy you may have to go down the disciplinary route, especially if you’ve given numerous warnings. If you do have to go down that route there are several things to consider:

  • Can you justify your policy as to why the rules are in place?
  • Is there a religious or cultural requirement for the employee’s attire? Is there a medical reason? If so, be careful as you may fall foul of Equality Legislation. However, you can override this if there is a health and safety or hygiene reason.
  • Are the findings of the disciplinary hearing reasonable? For example, it’s unlikely that dismissal would be reasonable for a first offence.

If you would like to discuss this please give us a call or to download this fact sheet click here.