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Workplace Fashionistas

Sep 14, 2010 / On the Job / Trackback

If it weren’t enough that we have a mega uproar over women wear­ing too much cloth­ing in the work­place, we now have one the very same week about too lit­tle of it!

Imane Boud­lal wants to dress piously and wear a hijab at work as a host­ess at Storyteller’s Caf in Disney’s Grand Cal­i­forn­ian Hotel & Spa. It’s too much, doesn’t jive with our cul­ture and peo­ple want her to take it off…

Ines Sainz wears form fit­ting jeans and tops that pop cleav­age while con­duct­ing inter­views with ath­letes who do the hubba hubba behind her back. She’s ask­ing for it, right? Accord­ing to a lot of pub­lic opin­ion I have read today — that answer would be yes.

Apart from the fact there is clear civil rights pro­tec­tion against unlaw­ful work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion — that cov­ers dress asso­ci­ated with a par­tic­u­lar reli­gion, aren’t we all aware of pro­tec­tion against sex­ual harass­ment and respon­si­bil­ity to gov­ern our own actions?

In regard to Imane wear­ing a hijab ver­sus Mickey Mouse Ears (or what­ever her co-workers wear)… If reli­gious wear is not a poten­tial safety haz­ard or there isn’t some other com­pelling rea­son it could impede one’s abil­ity to effec­tively per­form work — no one should feel com­pelled to call the fash­ion police. I under­stand uni­forms (please.. I was a scout and in the mil­i­tary) and know that if some­one needs to wear some­thing that impor­tant to them, there are other parts of the uni­form that can still be worn to clearly iden­tify them as part of the team.

Con­cern­ing Ines, frankly it’s really not about her at all. She is employed by TV Azteca — and they are respon­si­ble for set­ting a dress code and ensur­ing employ­ees fol­low it. If they are OK with how she dresses then there is no issue. The play­ers have con­tracts with the Jets and as an orga­ni­za­tion they are respon­si­ble for the con­duct of their play­ers. It doesn’t mat­ter if it is a foot­ball field or locker room — it’s no dif­fer­ent than work­ing in any other envi­ron­ment — pro­fes­sional con­duct is a must. I’ll gan­der that harass­ing oth­ers on Jets’ time isn’t Kosher.

Regard­less of how Ines was dressed, it is not an EXCUSE for inap­pro­pri­ate con­duct by oth­ers (let’s be real) — and the con­duct was very inap­pro­pri­ate. That is why there was a pub­lic apol­ogy by the team man­age­ment. And, it doesn’t mat­ter that she was in the dress­ing room — that’s where reporters go to inter­view team mem­bers all the time. Before the oppo­site sex enters a dress­ing room it is announced so every­one has time to put clothes on. A locker room is just a room like any other as long as the rules for con­duct are observed. Yes — male reporters go into women’s locker rooms to report. They go in with cam­eras just like this reporter did in the men’s locker room.

Let me reit­er­ate just once more time for kicks and gig­gles… Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It is no won­der the EEOC is a busy place.



6 comments
Ginak
Ginak

I understand everyones rights- but it is still unclear to me why one would chose a job that clearly requires one wear a very specific uniform when they don't have any intention of complying. If they know that their want/ need to wear something in particular might not be part of the dress code- why apply for that type of work in the first place. I know that being a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas gives a great opportunity for making several hundred dollars per day in tips. But I also know that the position requires wearing a skimpy outfit & high heals. Neither of which I am willing to jump through hoops through to put on every day. The same goes for a job in the fire service. I know that I don't have the desire to wear 40 pounds in protective gear & then charge into a 1400 degree fire. So instead of getting either job and then asking for an exception to the rules- I chose a different line of work. One where I have the freedom to wear what I choose.

Lou Bonica
Lou Bonica

I was amazed how the people who wrote in to the NY Daily News (both men & women) basically said she asked for it. It was something like 6 people to none condoning the behavior of the players. Unbelievable.

Rayanne Thorn
Rayanne Thorn

Great post Karla!It's interesting how individuals twist rulings and result to back their own behavior. "Regard less of how Ines was dressed, it is not an EXCUSE for inap pro pri ate con duct by others (let’s be real)" perfect.

Karla Porter
Karla Porter

Ginak - I get where you are coming from but consider this.. If we had a system that allowed company dress codes to require uniforms but not accomodation, it would be super easy for any employer to practice discrimination against one group of people, not to mention multiple groups and - not only religious. If I had chemotherapy and lost my hair and you don't allow head covering - is that right? I'm vegan and don't wear leather - can I wear shoes that are different than the ones issued? What if I'm allergic to the material the uniform is made of???If I'm Hindu and wear bindi on my forehead is that a problem too and because it is a religious expression is it different than wearing a crucifix or star of David? Even the US military allows for religious accomodation in apparel as long as it does not present duty hazard. I could keep going on with thought provoking questions, but to sum it up - Is infringing on one's core beliefs (as long as they are in compliance with the law) worth making them uncomfortable at work, losing a good employee, being so egotistical as an employer that you can't value your employees' uniqueness? In this country of religious tolerance and freedom should one have to discount employment with a particular organization because they won't be allowed to be themselves? I'll stick with allowing people to don their religious paraphernalia as long as they do their job.

Karla Porter
Karla Porter

I hear that Lou - I couldn't believe my eyes reading it on abc.com either.. In my opinion, the huge ultra conservative tsunami that's coming might role us back to the Middle Ages, to include another Inquisition.Maybe it's time for that Recruiter Commune I keep teasing about --> All sane people to the island!!!

Karla Porter
Karla Porter

Rayanne - It makes me feel like - If a woman walks down the street with no clothes on it's a perfectly good reason to rape her... I have bile in my throat because of it... Where's the Rolaids?