Dress codes and appearance

In Alberta, employers have the right to establish dress code standards necessary for the safe and effective conduct of business. When setting a dress code, employers have to ensure that the standard does not discriminate against employees based on protected grounds in the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) and is within societal norms.

Workplaces frequently have rules about dress. These rules may require employees to wear particular clothing, including uniforms or protective gear. If such rules conflict with an employee's religious dress requirements or other requirements related to another protected ground, the employer has a duty to accommodate the employee to the point of undue hardship. However, an employer can set reasonable rules that do not conflict with the grounds protected under the AHR Act. For example, hospitals may require nurses to wear different coloured uniforms when on duty so that their professional designation or assignment (RN, LPN, surgical and so on) can be easily identified. This is not discrimination under the AHR Act if the requirement is not based on a protected ground.

For more information about appearance and dress codes, see the Commission information sheet Appearance and dress codes.

Revised: February 5, 2010


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