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Dress Code checklist for employers

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Removing barriers based on sex and gender

This checklist can help organizations make sure that their dress codes and uniform policies are consistent with Ontario’s Human Rights Code protections relating to sex and gender, as set out in the OHRC’s Policy position on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes.

Dress codes/uniform policies should:

  1. Allow for a range of dress/uniform options, for all staff in all front-of-house positions.
  2. Not require any staff to wear sexualized, revealing or gender-stereotypical clothing.
  3. Make sure that all staff can choose from clothing options, including pants, that are comparable in terms of style, comfort, practicality and coverage, regardless of sex or gender.
  4. Offer uniform sizes that fit a wide range of body types. 
  5. Make all dress code options available by default, rather than only offering certain options by request.
  6. Not include grooming or appearance rules or expectations for women that are more onerous than those for men, or that are sexualized or based on stereotypical ideas of female attractiveness.
  7. Allow for a range of hairstyles, and not require a specific hairstyle unless it is a legitimate requirement of the job (e.g. food preparation).
  8. Specify that applicants or interviewees cannot be asked to identify what kind of uniform option they will choose to wear until they have been given an offer of employment.
  9. Include processes for handling dress code-related accommodation requests and complaints.
  10. Be communicated with and freely available to all staff.

For more information on dress code and other employment-related human rights issues, see Human Rights at Work 2008 - Third Edition

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