Companies can usually require employees to follow basic personal hygiene while at work. This can include body odor, makeup, hair style, or facial hair. However, employers may not be able to require employees to "look" a certain way simply based on the personal preference of management, co-workers, or a client. Requirements that discriminate against an employee's race, national origin, religion, ethnicity, etc. are prohibited.
Certain factors may need to be considered when deciding on appropriate action addressing complaints about an employee’s hygiene: job duties, safety, need vs. want, and reasonable accommodation. When deciding whether to address an issue with an employee, assess all factors of the situation then, if needed, address the employee with sensitivity as there may be factors beyond their control such as finances or a medical condition. Document the conversation and protect any information gathered. Be consistent in what is required of all employees in a similar situation, being sure to not target certain employees or groups.
Affinity HR Group is BSCAI's endorsed HR partner, providing HR support, recruiting and employee engagement services. For a link to our menu of services for BSCAI members, go to www.AffinityHRGroup.com/BSCAI