Jul 19 2007

What I did about it

Here’s what I wrote to my supervisor (who, by the way, agrees with me whole-heartedly):

I am concerned by the, I feel, clearly discriminatory nature of the new personal attire policy. It seems that it is a policy directed solely at the female employees. While I agree with some of the suggestions, I do not agree with all of them. In particular I find the footwear policy to be unnecessary. While it is important, from a safety standpoint, to make sure that we are wearing the appropriate shoes for the tasks we are performing, I in no way feel that it requires a policy that disallows certain types of shoes in all cases. For instance, the example given is about flip flops. Personally, I do not frequently wear flip flops, but when I do they are clean, nice looking sandals that happen to have a thong piece between my toes. They stay on my feet as well as most closed shoes. I do not perform tasks which make the exposure of my toes a hazard. There is no safety risk.

From a “professional” standpoint, I wonder where we draw the line. Sport sandals stay on feet but are not very “professional” looking. Will they be deemed inappropriate as well? What about open-toe sandals that do have a strap on the back to make sure that they can’t fall off? What about high-heeled, fancy sandals with a thong between the toes but no strap? What about open-toe heels? You may call this a slippery slope argument, but I really don’t see a clear line here past, perhaps, a personal aesthetic, and I don’t see that as a valid argument. If we want to get into a personal aesthetic argument then nobody wins. We all have different taste. We are not a company that wears uniforms. Until we are, I believe the only argument that can be made is one of safety and decency, neither of which should make sandals inappropriate in all cases.

She will be putting it together with what the other irritated employees are saying and will be presenting it to the appropriate people.

The thing that really gets to me is that this policy springs from a personal problem that a VP is having with an employee who happens to live with him (they are not romantically involved and are not related, he just acts like her father all the time). We have worn whatever we’ve wanted for years until she was hired and he started telling her what she could and couldn’t wear on her way out the door to work. THAT IS NOT A VALID REASON TO MAKE A POLICY!! WE should not have to suffer for her crappy fashion decisions!

Anyway… what do you all think about this?

Jul 19 2007

Livid

I try not to talk about work on this site. I don’t think it’s appropriate or professional. However, there are times when I can say something that will not reveal the company I work for and wouldn’t really hurt them if I did.

This may be difficult to explain properly, seeing as most of you do not work in this office with me (though it would be a blast if you did!).

Our current company dress policy is as follows:
A professional appearance is essential to your job. You are a representative of Condor, so you must present a clean and professional image to clients, co-workers, and management. You must practice good grooming and personal hygiene. Clothing must be neat, clean, tasteful, in good repair, and appropriate for our professional work. Avoid clothing that can create a safety hazard. Department managers may issue more specific guidelines.

Fine. I have NO problem with that. I try to dress nicely and cleanly. I shower every morning. I may not put on makeup or really “do” my hair, but I have a clean face and I pull my hair back so that it’s nowhere near messy. There are days when I’m not feeling tip-top when I may slip a bit and wear jeans and a company polo, but those are rare.

Here’s the not yet published UPDATE to the policy:
Appropriate professional attire should not reveal any part of your undergarments or reveal any midriff skin, body piercing, or tattoos. All shoes should be securely fitted to your foot; i.e., flip flop sandals are not acceptable professional foot apparel.

I’m fine with the undergarment thing- my bra straps often slip because of the way my shoulders are shaped, but I don’t intentionally wear anything that reveals my undergarments. I also agree with the midriff showing- I don’t believe that half shirts are really acceptable (or particularly attractive) in the workplace. Any workplace.

Then we get to the part that pisses me right the fuck off. Body piercings? Tattoos? I may have neither, but entirely believe in a person’s right to have those which are on parts of the body that can be appropriately shown at work be seen. If I had sleeve tattoos would I be forced to wear long sleeves every day? If I had a tattoo on my ankle, would they make me cover it with a sock or pants at all times? It’s BULLSHIT.

But the next part is what I have the biggest problem with. The flip flops. I know it sounds silly. Most offices wouldn’t want their employees to wear flip flops. But it has NEVER EVER been a problem here. I rarely wear flip flops, but the ones I have are clean and more sandal-looking than sporty or casual. The argument given is that it’s a safety hazard and we could “stub our toes.” What the fuck? Why do you care if I stub my toe? Do you really fucking think I’ll be awarded Worker’s Comp for a goddamn stubbed toe? Fuck you.

I also fear the slipperyness of this argument. Are sandals with a thong between my toes but that also have an ankle strap okay? Are open-toed sandals okay? I have some very nice quality shoes that are open-toe. They are completely professional. Can I wear those? Where does it stop? Will all of these things be outlawed until all we can wear are unattractive closed-toe pumps? Should I go buy some in black, navy, tan, taupe, white, and red to cover all of my outfits. Fuck that. Not to mention I don’t have the money to go out and buy all new shoes, even though that does sound like fun (the new shoes, not the “rainbow” of ugly ass pumps). Will you be providing a shoe replacement budget?

And what about the guys who wear t-shirts, jeans, and sport sandals? Are you going to stop them? They’re more likely to go out in the field than we are.

We’re not a fancy company. We’ve NEVER been a fancy company. I think we have some of the big clients that we do because they feel comfortable with us. No one has ever had to take me aside and tell me that my clothing choices were inappropriate. Treat us like adults who can make decisions for ourselves and only spend your time on those who demonstrate that they can’t. LEAVE MY FUCKING WARDROBE THE FUCK ALONE!!!

Of course, my gut response is to want to go out and get tattoos in very obvious places and them come to work in a mini skirt, half shirt, and flip flops just to piss them off. I bet they wouldn’t say anything.

I know that this is to some extent an overreaction, but I also just can’t stand being told what to do with something so fucking trivial. I also can’t believe how blatant the double standards are for men and women. The women who work here are (for the most part) very professional. We don’t deserve this. Leave us alone to do our jobs. In flip flops, if we fucking feel like it.