Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Kevin Hyde is quoted in the Law360 article, “Airline Uniform Fight Shows Perils of Gendered Dress Codes,” about Washington state’s anti-bias watchdog's recent ruling against Alaskan Airlines for its dress code policy that forced employees to choose between male or female uniforms.
Hyde said it's a good reminder for employers nationwide that it might be time to take a fresh look at their own requirements. A good preventative practice, he said, would be to assess whether any sex-based distinctions – if they exist in a company's dress or grooming policy – should be maintained or updated.
"I think it's an issue that employers maybe aren't necessarily thinking about, but when an issue is raised about it by an employee, it's one they are going to have to immediately confront. They can't simply ignore the employee," Hyde said. "Cases like this show that maybe it needs to be [on the forefront of thought], and this is a good time now to scrub your policies to determine if you have any of these gender-based distinctions, and if so, determine why and whether it's valid to continue them or should they be changed."