PracticeConsultingDress-down fears as European move outlaws compulsory suit-wearing

Dress-down fears as European move outlaws compulsory suit-wearing

Accountants and City workers could be set to undergo the most radical image change ever, following European legislation which is set to challenge the right of employers to enforce dress codes.

Solicitors met this week at their annual conference in Paris and were told that employers who force staff to wear suits would be liable to legal action under the Human Rights Act.Barristers from Cloisters, one of the leading UK civil litigation chambers, were warned that the suit and other mandatory dress codes violated freedom of expression and right to privacy.As a result, in years to come, instead of accountants being known for wearing smart suits, the profession may be recognised for bright coloured woollen jumpers or even tank-tops and cardigans. However accountants Neville Russell said allowing staff to a ‘dress down day’ on a Friday was enough.’Due to the nature of accountancy, suits are the most suitable choice of dress and accountancy firms should retain the right to suggest what dress our people wear,’ the firm said.Employee rights experts have warned that once the Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into British Law, comes into force next October anybody who doesn’t want to wear a suit will be able to take their case to an employment tribunal.Professions where the employee comes into contact with the public may be exempt from the Act, although people working in closed offices would have a stronger case to wear more casual outfits.

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