Workwear: Birds of paradise are not desired everywhere

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A new tattoo, red patent leather shoes or colorful strands of hair – not always meet the new look of employees in the company on goodwill. And not always it's a matter of taste. What do workers have to keep in mind when looking at their appearance and their style of clothing? Which restrictions do you have to accept?

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The external appearance of the employees can be of great importance depending on the occupational field. "Workwear is the generic term for clothing that has to be worn during working hours," explains Ralph Muthers, Attorney at Law. Caspers, Mock & Partners. "This includes protective clothing, uniforms, outerwear and service clothing. The reasons for workwear can vary depending on the work area. They are mostly used for safety, protection, hygiene or to give a serious impression. "

However, not every rule regarding workwear needs to be accepted. The Federal Labor Court (BAG) was a pilot right, who complained against the obligation to wear a cap in his work. The court justified its decision by stating that female pilots, unlike their male counterparts, do not need to wear headgear. Therefore, according to the Federal Labor Court, the "company agreement service clothing" violates the principle of equal treatment and is therefore ineffective.

Warning due to a violation of the regulation of workwear

Each employer may issue rules for working clothes as part of his instructions. "This is usually a permissible restriction of the general personality right, which, of course, still applies to every employee," explains lawyer Muthers. Among other things, these rules may be justified by the protection of employees. For example, workers must wear a helmet or safety shoes. Also, as is common in food processing, gloves and hairnets may be prescribed.

In addition to clothing regulations for hygiene and safety reasons, the employer may in principle also give service clothing regulations. Possible reason for this would be a uniform and serious appearance of the company to the outside, for example by wearing uniform suits, jackets or ties.

As a general rule, if there is an overwhelming operational need and interest, regulations and specifications for workwear are generally permissible and effective. Therefore, workwear regulations should also be taken seriously for non-functional reasons. Lawyer Ralph Muthers emphasizes: "If an employee ignores the regulations, he must expect a warning."

Even if there are no rules on working clothes, you should be dressed according to your profession. "Greater flexibility does not mean that everything is allowed," says Muthers.

In addition to clothing regulations, there are always discussions or quarrels about tattoos or body jewelery of employees or applicants in the workplace.

Does the employer have to put on the work clothes?

Many workers ask themselves: If the employer prescribes a certain workwear in the job, does he have to put it on his own? When it comes to the protection of employees in the workplace, the Labor Protection Act (ArbSchG) in Section 3 stipulates that the employer must provide the protective clothing for risky activities free of charge. If the employer does not do so, the employee may even, depending on the individual case, even refuse to carry out the activity. In addition, it must be ensured that the protective clothing is intact and, if necessary, regularly cleaned. "It is different if the employee wears protective clothing for personal safety reasons," says the lawyer. "Then he can be proportionally or wholly involved in the cost of these workwear."

If there are no legal obligations for working clothes, employees and employers can collectively agree on workwear. The provisions made can be stated in the employment contract or in a company agreement. In these cases, the employee must also comply with the regulations. In these cases, the employee can usually be involved in the cost of workwear.

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