Dgm - Hr
Practicing Chartered Accountant
Kuljit Pal Singh
Deputy Manager Hr
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Dr. Jogeshwar Mahanta
Career Management, Talent & Capability
Sohini Basu Roy
Sr Manager Recruitments
Rtd. Group Vice President In Hr In Export
Every organisation has a dress code, depending upon the cultural demarcations of that region.
Now if the dress worn by an employee - male / female looks vulgar or objectionable / provocative to others, then certainly it is a matter of concern and needs to be dealt with in a sensitive manner without hurting the sentiments of the recepient.
What I feel you need to do in this case is to ask the opinion of her boss/ess or superiors and also a number of female colleagues both junior and senior to her.
In case the average opine that it is not in good taste, then you should drop in a mail addressed to all reminding them the dress code accepted in the organisation, without giving examples by taking someone's name.
And wait and watch the impact of this mail on her. If she still continues in the same way, then I think she needs a personal counselling. Then you can call her and discuss the matter in private.
Anyways, there could be more opinions on this from my good friends in this community.
Best Wishes & Warm Regrds
7th June 2008 From India, Lucknow
Every corporate office having it's own dress code policy, according to your dress code policy, if somebody wants to violate that policy, better don't entertain concerned.
As a Hr guy you have to have cut throat the same in first impression itself, convey the same to her without any second thought.
You are doing only better working culture and environment.
7th June 2008 From India, Mumbai
I am very happy to know that you are so much concerned about the culture of the organisation .You put forth a very severe issue and a correct step has to be taken further on this.
In my opinion in first instance tell that girl about the difference in the sector or industry from which she is coming from. Then tell her about the code of conduct of this organisation and ask your HR head to shoot a general mail to all the employees about the formal dress code in the organisation.
Thanks & Regards
7th June 2008 From India, Pune
i can relate to what ur going through as a similar that happened in our ogranisation...
there was this girl who would wear whtever she wanted to work and that was quite tantalising........and all the guys would oogle at her........and she enjoyed all the attantion..........
anyways thats not important.......what u could do it is make a employee manual..which im sure u can get enough samples here......and circulate in ur mail....and in that mantion the dress code.....
call for a meeting with ur management and show them the manual as it is imp to get their approval..........and then mail it to all the employee asking them to follow the dress code.....
and from now onwards for any new joinee tell them before hand what the acceptable dress code is.....so that the similar situation cant be faced....
hey all the best.... dont worry what ur going to do will be the
7th June 2008 From India, Hyderabad
Greetings. If an organisation doesnt have dress code, might be they are facing problem like yours.
Being as a HR Person its your responsibility to maintain organisation environment & culture. Without disturbing your direct, I suppose you can solve the problme in below way.
Shot a mail decent mail to everyemployee (all email ids in to field) & write them that we all are enjoying working together in team & have immpression of decent persons in each other. Like other organisation we dont have any dress code but even though we all come in decent formal or semi formals always. Since last little time I have seen some of the persons wearing exposed cloths which is spoiling our office culture & impression in market. Being as a HR Person I thought to solve the problem internaly without involving director as If I go to director, I will take approval for all that everyone have to wear formals like males trouser - shirts & females Saree or decent punjabi suits. Else will ask them to apply dress code system. Please cooperate with your choice.
Like this is just a sample which can be modified as per your own need as you are more aware with mindset of your employees.
If this doesnt solve the problem, go to your director without hesistant & ask him to immediatly apply dress code system.
I think Narasimhan should'nt reply in this manner. Its totally not good.
More suggestion from our Senior Team Members are most Welcome.
Bye Take Care.
7th June 2008 From India, Mumbai
Then u have to come into action as an HR. drop her a mail, mentioning..or rather requesting her to dress in an appropriate manner..but be sure u say it politely and subtly..and make sure u take some senior guy from ur co. in confidence...Trust me, people r quite afraid of HR Guys and hopefully she shud listen to u..if she doesnt in few days..then u have every right to ask her again, strictly and sternly this time....just see if this works..and if doesnt then do tell us all again or pm me..i'll find sum other way out for u!
7th June 2008 From India, Delhi
Its very thoughtful of you to share this concern which is a concern in most of the organizations.
Please do refer to your organizations dress code policy/Induction policy.Every organization during Induction to the new joinees do tell about the dress code policy.
You would be having team meets/committee meetings .In the meetings you could discuss this in a subtle way.
You could also very casually and in person talk to her about this issue.Or if there is a senior member in your team then she could also discuss this.
Please see to it that while you are discussing it doesnot become an issue as it is a sensitive case.
7th June 2008 From India, Bhubaneswar
I am a very new member to this foroum, so my apologies in advance if my views offened anyone.
I read loads of people asking you to drop an email to all asking to adhare to the dress code, however before you do that I have few questions.
1) do you have the policies already defined
2) did you pass on the copy of it to the concerned female.
My suggestion in this case would be, first define whats is termed as inapropriate, then pass on the copy of it to all, & then if you find someone not following whats defined then pick up the issue...
Do not do something which might put you & your firm in trouble.
7th June 2008 From India, Jaipur
As your are senior person you should decide to talk to your team and take decision not to bring this to open communication and ask for suggestions sometimes you might get replies like narasiman
please dont bring for open communication this will really feel bad about all girls.
7th June 2008 From India, Madras
As a Junior Member, but as an HR Consultant what I would like to comment on this matter is that, Agreed with all my Senior Members and Junior Members for sending mail for alertness or awareness, but thing is that as far as I know that if a Co. has a DRESS CODE then it's offence for not following it but in case if Co. does not have any DRESS CODE then no one can pin point on that untill & unless the person reached to the extreme point of xposoures. Anyway it's totally argue matter.
What I believe is that every problem can be solved by "words", so before shooting mail to collegues or boss or even to subodinates you should make that person realise where she had been before and where is she at present.
I would pleade apologise if my comment hurts anybody.
7th June 2008 From India, Calcutta
How long she has joined? Did you have a chance to hold a personal meeting with her? If yes, how are her personality traits?
If she has just join, then I believe instead of thinking this much, that she will spoil the office environment just let her adjust in your team first, make her feel that she is part of your organization and one of you. Do not treat her as an alien just because she has different tastes of dressing. Once she mixes with you she will certainly try to learn what your team expects from her and will certainly improve.
It is quite possible that what she wears today must have been completely acceptable to her previous organization so it is natural for her to wear those kind of dresses. But make her realize she is now in a new organization and she is expected to wear dresses that is acceptable to your group. Tell her that every group/family/organization/city/state/country has its own culture and people act, wear, interact with each other according to untold rules set by the unit. Make her realize her that making this simple change will make her more acceptable to entire group/organization and if she is more acceptable to the group she will be the beneficiary.
While discussion please don't express your disliking towards her dressing, don't leave an impression that you are advising here because you don't like her dressing. If you do it her ego level will raise and she will resist your suggestion. Instead, tell her you are not against it but if she keeps on wearing this type of dresses her acceptability to the group will be less. So who will not like to get himself/herself acceptable a new group/community.
Moreover, I would not recommend you to write a general email to all. Because this will certainly be a sarcastic email, she will understand you have sent this email for her but addressed to all. NEVER do it. This will instill some sort of bitterness. Meeting her in person and explaining things is the best solution.
Instead of investing this much time in such issue, you need to have your well defined HR policy in place including the dress code guidelines. And yes, any policy requires regular monthly review to keep it effective over time.
7th June 2008 From India, Rajkot
After going through your case the one thing I feel very strongly is chart out a policy in black and white regarding the dress code. Mention categorically what type of formals are allowed. This would do good not just to current employees but also to the ones who might be joining you, and would from the very beginning leave a standard impression. Next, call a meeting of the female staff and talk clearly about the nuisances of decent dressing. If requirement be, point out the to the concerned Lady staff the obscenity of her dressing style. You don't need to give a second thought to this as you are and HR personnel and its your prime responsibility to maintain a healthy work environment.
I am sure this would go great deal in conveying the message but in case it doesn't don't be shy to had over a warning letter.
7th June 2008 From India, Jaipur
Good going! But is a serious concern to an HR person. People especially girls are more concerned about their dress at work place. Though they say it is her perogative to dress up in a way she likes, it becomes the job of the person responsible for the personnel i.e., the HR person to make her understand the implications of dressing up in a most seducive way. I feel it is your duty to tell the new comers during the induction about this dress code (though there is no official dress code in place) I have also come across this type of situation where in I just called the concerned girl and explained very politely that though you look attractive in the dress you are wearing, it will not suit the work place. They apologised for that and corrected themselves. I don't think an e-mail to her will help rather calling her and taking her in to confidence and tell that she should dress in a way which is not explosive and in the decent dress also she looks more beautiful.
Best of luck,
7th June 2008 From India, Bangalore
Dont bother what others would say. If you are in charge of HR it is your responsibility to keep the decency and decorum of office. No need to send any mail. Call the staff in your cabin and tell her politely about your concern regarding the way she dresses and advise her to come to office dressed decently. She will understand.
If it doesn't bring about a positive response, send her a mail referring to the earlier discussion and copy to top Management.
Best of luck.
7th June 2008 From India, Thanjavur
I think that you should talk to her politely and tell her that she must improve her dressing style. She can repel but then before you warn her, actually you have a benefit to explain to your seniors if neede that you have conveyed your message politely to her as well but she didn't listen to your friendly advise.
Then for long run you must device the dress code policy.
7th June 2008 From India, Chandigarh
Your comments and Ideas are true & acceptable. It can be badly effects to the company culture as well ( following the same by majority female ).
The ideal dresscode can be described in the company handbook / Employee manual.Also common e-mail regarding company dresscode can be sent to everyone
7th June 2008 From Sri Lanka, Colombo
Call her in person & talk to her.
Understand the reason behind her way of dressing. Might be she would been brought up in that manner.
Please make her understand the Office Decorum.
Make her understand the dress code policy if it is there.
if she realises and ready to change her attitude, then it is absolulety fine or else you may start with oral warning, followed by written and then actions.
Please remember we are HR Profesionals, handle with Care.
Keep it Private & Confidentail
The way you handle may either break or make the Organisation..
Also one more request, dont be fuming or dont be harsh, if someone has replied against your thoughts or hurting your sentiments.
answer them in a polite way.
8th June 2008 From India, Coimbatore
I would suggest that posting her a mail is not good solution for this problem. And you should not give anything in writing to your collegues unless it is been approved by your boss.
Secondly, you can have discussion with all male (whome you know better and are matured) and female employees and take their opinion about this. You should treat her very friendly and get closer with her. Then and then only you can solve this problem by way of councelling. Otherwise if she is blunt, she can insult you in front of all employees if you send her a mail.
Another thing I would like to suggest, as a good HR Professional, you should avoide using harsh language even if you don't like any reply in this forum and else where too (Ex. your reply to Mr.Narasimhan)
8th June 2008 From India, Mumbai
8th June 2008 From India, Kakinada
Thanks a ton for all your suggestions.
We don't have any dress code. We all come office wearing descent clothes,so till date the question of dress code doesn't raised. In fact our HQ which is in Finland don't have any dress code. People are sensible enough to understand what to wear in office. This is first time am facing. She has completed one month in our org. Female do wear sleeve less in my org but in such a way which doesn't look vulgar. If she wants to change herself or wants to be acceptable by others then from last one month why i have not seen any changes in her dressing infact it is become more horrible.
She also reports to my director who is male and i feel bit awkward talking with him regarding same but few days before he has forwarded me one email regarding dress code of our subsidiary which is in Middle east. So i think indirectly he has also given me some hint. I think being HR i should drop email to all the female employees. I will not write harsh email but a soft one with clarity. Before that i will speak with my director also so that he will be not surprised if she goes to him.
I liked sneha's suggestion. If i call her in my cabin and she started doing argument with me then it will be more difficult to handle. she is Ms.attitude and bit arrogant too.
Please suggest if i drop email to all female staff will that do.
8th June 2008 From India, Mumbai
I had been reading all posts on this subject.
1. Discuss with your Director and if he says, you must do something about her dress code, then you have the authority otherwise , you do not have the authority.
2.If he gives a green signal to you, then face her directly. Do not send emails.
3. If you do not have a green signal, then accept it gracefully.
4. Noone in the world is arrogant If you look at them as arrogant, he or she will look arrogant.
5. Just trace the history of dress pattern in India.In fact in Tamilnadu, Salwar was considered as a modern dress about 20 years back. Many colleges were not allowing girls to wear salwar. Then Skirts then Jeans and all these were considered as against our value system.
6.One can wear normal saree and still look vulgar. Can wear shortest of Skirts and still look decent
7. Do not make it a big issue
8th June 2008 From India, Chennai
It may so happen that she might be unaware of it, hence the outrageous dress sense. It will also work as a subtle / non confrontational way of bringing her dressing sense to her notice.
Hope it helps
8th June 2008 From India, Surat
Writing a mail to director and marking a copy will not solve the purpose as some of the male members (out of the twelve staff) will object to it and situation may go wrong against you .
Better way of solving the issue is to address a meeting with the director or high official if possible to set certain standards of Dress Code which will not not include that girl(new joinee) but also others new joinee+present also.
In my organisation it was made clear by my HR that no one should wear the clothes which seems objectionable (like transparent) and writen something vulgar on T Shirts.
So simply conduct a meeting with your Director addressing the situation that " some of the employees are not maaintaing proper dress code (exclude that girl) and take all employyes into sphere "
8th June 2008 From India, New Delhi
As you said there were no polices for dress codes . so The better choice is to implement a polices for dress code in ur organisation through your Head HR. This issues has to be spoken in Board member meet that will help out you.
You should start like as we r professionals so there should be dress code for all employees with certain freedom .
8th June 2008
Ignore Narsimhans mail. Being as a HR Person you can directly talk to her in private about this matter. If you dont want to discuss, just shoot an email without mentioning the name to all the female employees in your orgnization. If she doesnot realize then better to go to your director to recommend a dress code and mention the same in your email. I wish she can realize herself.
8th June 2008 From India, Hyderabad
8th June 2008 From India, Mumbai
8th June 2008 From India, Pune
this is my first post, really u r proving teraffic concern abt ur organsiation by asking for such help. Well, u can report ur admin. dept.so that not only u can control that odd wearing as can as may avoid any future shameful event which may take place coz of that mischievious girl.
8th June 2008 From India, Indore
8th June 2008
8th June 2008 From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
8th June 2008 From China
I am really sorry if I touched a wrong nerve, for you both to make such statements.
I am a 68 year retired Lecturer from a university, happily married with a 28 yr old daughter and a wife who has just retired. May be living abroad has broadened my outlook in life. As long as she is not violating your company dress code (assuming you have one), she is at liberty to wear what she likes.
If you have not a dress code then you better institute one, but you may have difficulty in enforcing it with retrospective effect.
I stand to be corrected by other members. I know that one has thanked me for my controversial statement.
9th June 2008 From United Kingdom
I have faced this embracing situation several times. First thing we do is we call for a casual meeting and we explain about the culture of the organization. This gives the employee some idea where do we stand. Then we try to probe and understand what made them to dress like this and then we go for action. There are people who take least care on their attire. Its good to explain to them slowly so that they are not offended.
Writing mail will not provide solutions to the challenging and further it will complicate. Its better to communicate to her in a casual (And Friendly too) environment slowly. If you dont see any change even after your efforts then you need to draft a dress code policy which will clearly explain. write back if none of the above works. There are solutions better than this but only if required to go.
9th June 2008 From India, Coimbatore
Be courteius and diplomatic in your approach because initial stages in a company is a settling down time and she will oblige.
9th June 2008 From India, Madras
This needs to be given a serious attention, but carefully and politely. Sometimes for a person the environment could be different, where she/he has grown up. I mean to say it may be very open, so the things you see and feel ackward, may not be for her as she would have been grown in such environment. Steps what you may take to prevent such things, start writting Dress Code Policy, mentioning that such clothes will not be allowed at all. Being the Indias, we have to follow the culture, ethics and values of our society, if somebody doesn't, try your best to make him/her understand...
One personal request, we are here to share knowledge, exeperiences and sort out the problems, but if somebody writes vulgar or objectionable, we should not reply at all. We should simply report to the administrator of this site, they will better take care of such matters, but if we also start replying in the same way, what's the difference then????
9th June 2008 From China
As our friends in the community have rightly suggested, first send mail informing all employees about the dress code to be followed on all working days. This needs to be done first, coz if you have not mentioned this before, let's convey this first.
Simultaneously, draft your dress code policy and ensure that the same is readily available for all to read.
Inspite of your mail, if the concerned employee does not follow the dress code, then I feel you should have a word with her and convey your apprehensions as HR and as a woman colleague.
Hoping this would resolve.
9th June 2008 From India, Bangalore
1. I wrote Dress Code and Hygien Policy
2. Forward to all
3. Had a meeting to discuss it with all employees
4. but the situation was not resolved so I sent the guy an email addressing his body odor problem and it might be of a health problem
the situation was solved and all the employees change their dress code.
9th June 2008 From Jordan, Amman
well a very usual thing in corporates where it hardly matters for many gals....well rules are meant to be broken.....since u dont have a formal dress code ...i think its high time for u to have them ....mite me she was just instrumental for that cause....
wearing such sensual attire and tryng to make sure that he/she is being noted is an ego boost for them ..nip ot in the bud itself..... frame very specific codes as of how the dresses sholud be...if sleevelss how decent should that be...and if an employee is nt ready to adhere to the code of conduct of the organization then he/she is a total misfit for the organization
dress according to the ocassion is what is so vry important....a track suit wud suit the best during ur workouts but throrughly unadmittable in an office..anf grown up people shud be sensible enuf to understand when they stand wrong....
guys wud surely enjoy seeing another gal wear a backless or sphagetti but will not let their sisters or wives wear 1 and wok on the street to seduce men..... let the poor gal (s) realise ths fst...
9th June 2008 From India, Thiruvananthapuram
9th June 2008 From India, Vadodara
Your concern is absolutely proper.
Get the dress code prepared and released.
Call this girl, and politely explain to her that she is at work in an environment, that has both sexes working, a such she clearly needs to be discreet and focussed on the work and not on the exposed parts of her anatomy.
9th June 2008 From India, Lucknow
This particular matter is for sure a concern for you as well as for others in the office...But in my opinion one must also consider that this lady is coming from a business that required to be dressed up in an such manner. How much ever we deny it but the fact still remains that business models based like hotels, media , etc project themselves and attract clients through their employees.The best approach should be to make her understand that the sector she is in now- requires a different way of carrying oneself.If this is conveyed to her by personal one-to -one talk, she wouldn't feel embarrased and get the point as well..
9th June 2008 From India, Hyderabad