Regardless of the pursued profession, most of us who have been active in our jobs for quite some time. Everybody probably has witnessed certain discussions about the “right” type of work clothing. In this blog article we will show you the liberties you have as an employee, where protective clothing is absolutely necessary and why your employer can’t make you redundant because of a conspicuous new hair style.

Reasons for the practice of work clothes

There are many different purposes for specific types of work clothes. Police officers or soldiers are consciously wearing a uniform to convey authority. Doctors and cooks use them to maintain hygienic standards. Managing directors of other areas also use unique uniform clothing standards in a variety of ways. They are deliberately used by the food service industry or promoters as a sign of the so-called “corporate identity”. Their intention is to help the customer to perceive the company positively and strengthen cohesion between the workforces. Different expressions of work clothes also can help to show the differences between individual hierarchical grades in a company.

There aren’t any regulations in Austrian labor law

The applied type of clothing in each field of work is entirely determined by the location of a worker and the unwritten rules and customs of the industry. In principle any kind of unfounded prohibition under Austrian law is interpreted as an interference with a person’s own privacy. Employers must state reasonable reasons for the introduction of their own regulations. Examples can be the preservation of hygiene, company reputation or safety measures.

Why some companies still insist to use their own regulations

Exceptions exist here as well. Branches such as the banking sector, whose reputation and approach to their clients is generally perceived as “conservative” in advance, can prescribe specific rules for carrying a certain “business look” in order to preserve the commonly-known identity. Other industries, such as aviation, catering trade or health care, also expect their stewardesses, chefs and doctors to adjust to dress codes, as they are interpreted from the outside as self-evident.

The meaning of the expression work clothes

A worker’s workwear symbolizes the outfit that is expected by the employers to deal with the upcoming tasks within the company’s tasks. This type of outfit can be freely selectable in some areas or is stipulated by customer expectations or individual working conditions. The required work clothes must be organized by the employee himself. However employers would be allowed to carry the costs of purchasing these if they intended.

The difference between casual work clothes and uniforms

Work clothes, which must be bindingly worn by every employee, need to be made available free of charge by the company and are called uniforms. Employees which are refusing to wear the uniform during working hours, may be dismissed after a disciplinary warning has been issued.

Exceptional case: protective clothing

Protective clothing represents a special type of workwear which is used for the safety of the workers. The employer is obliged to provide these to his workers or employees in occupations with a permanent degree of risk. Safety shoes are one of the most common examples for protective clothing. Employers must pay the cost for these safety meassures. He also bears the main responsibility for adequate testing and the provided quality of the provided equipment. An exception is the independent acquisition of protective clothing for the voluntary protection of the work clothes. Such purchases can be done by the employee himself but do not have to be.

Certain types of body jewelry like earrings and piercings

Hygiene regulations and safety aspects are the main priorities regarding this topic. The wearing of discreet body jewelry is quite permissible to a certain degree. Exceptions can also be made here, after sufficient justification. In most industries, earrings and piercings may in principle be worn as expressions of everybody’s individual personality.

Conspicuous hair colors

Despite the perfect fit between green hair dye and one or another piercing, the effects of rebellious appearances while dealing with customers might appear to be a distraction. Employers have the right to actively move you as far away from them as possible in such cases. Maintaining the company’s reputation is always the main priority. However you do not have to fear any consequences in the case of an ordinary hair color.

Problems with striking tattoos

In contrast to piercings or colorful hair dyes, tattoos can’t be removed in the same manner. Many conservative customers are nevertheless happy if they’re not scared during their withdrawal at the local bank. Industries, which require a high order of integrity in customer support, aren’t very fond of striking tattoos. Tattooed forearms or facial parts “can” be seen as impractical by some employers. However coverable tattoos remain an expression of everybody’s own personality and are consequently seen as an element of the own sphere of personal privacy.