It’s that time of year—the weather is getting warmer and summer is just around the corner—it is shorts, T-shirts and sandal season! For many, this is the most challenging time of year for the dress code police. Dress codes, or the lack of them, cause problems every day for organizations. Take a look around your workplace. How would you respond to this dress code quiz?

If you aren’t satisfied with the answers to the above questions then it may be time for a dress code policy/practice review. There are no federal laws governing employee dress codes. Employers may set whatever dress guidelines they wish, as long as they do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability or any other federally protected status. In general, courts have ruled that private employers may implement dress standards for employees as long as they can provide business justifications for them, and as long as the standards do not weigh more heavily on one group of people than another.

Consider the following tips to effectively address the dress code stress that may exist in your organization:

Even if your organization has dress code stress, it is possible to shift the paradigm to a middle-ground compromise, as long as you inform your employees of the organization’s expectations. Ultimately, whether your organization chooses to offer the occasional “casual Friday” or a business-casual policy, employees should acknowledge that they are the visual spokespeople for the organization, and therein lies the opportunity to put their best (dressed) foot forward. IBI