Does Common Sense Need to be Included in the Employee Handbook?

17th February 2011

Some women in Germany wish to get something off their chest-mainly, their bra.

A German state labour court issued a bizarre ruling that ordered employers to force their female staff to wear a bra whilst on the job. Not just any bra; it must be flesh coloured or white, and especially not brightly coloured, as it may show through their clothing.

Substituting an undershirt was the only exception to the rule for going braless.

Women’s fingernail length was also included in the ruling.

The Cologne court added, "Being told to wear a bra and to keep fingernails to shorter than half-a-centimetre is not an impingement. It is not a disproportionate impairment of personal rights."

Presumably, there was this for both genders: their employers will determine beard and fingernail length. All new recruits and current staffers must have clean, groomed hair. Beards must be trimmed and will be checked daily by their superiors.

Long-time career employees at Germany’s airport security personnel, who were displeased about an overly strict job rulebook, brought their case to the court; however, the plan apparently backfired, as even more regulations were heaped upon the workers.

The Labour Court in North Rhine-Westphalia said that all decisions shall be applied to every populous workplace state in Germany.

Perhaps the lesson here is to be careful for what you wish.

Should the UK enforce the same laws and “support” its decision?

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