When it comes to office dress codes, what’s reasonable — and what’s just sexist? (Photo: Getty Images)
An intern at Facebook once redefined the concept of “office casual” by showing up to work every day in booty shorts, according to a new tell-all tome by a former Facebook employee.
In an excerpt from Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, provided by Gizmodo, author Antonio Garcia Martinez — who was fired by the company after two years — writes that one of the male higher-ups, sometimes accompanied by female colleague, would single out women in the workspace and chastise them for wearing clothes that “distracted” co-workers. He painted the dress code, which applied only to females, as strict and sexist.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has become notorious for bucking sartorial standards in the workplace by wearing his trademark hooded sweatshirts to the company’s Menlo Park offices. So what should the “rules” be when it comes to dress codes in the work place, anyway? Where does the line get drawn?
An article in the Seattle Times reports that office dress codes are becoming increasingly casual “due to the influx of Millennials.” The story references a recent study conducted by OfficeTeam, which found that 47 percent of employers feel their employees dress too casually, while another 32 percent say they show “too much skin.”
According to the Telegraph, the powers-that-be at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner advised women trainees to wear “neutral T-shirt bras,” while another law firm, Allen & Overy, banned “very short skirts.” An email from the company read, “We’ve been asked to draw your attention to the fact that HR have received numerous complaints about the way female trainees have been dressing around the office.”
But the apparent sexism doesn’t stop with skimpiness when it comes to office attire. Last month, Today reported that a British temp receptionist, 27-year-old Nicola Thorp, was sent home after she refused to wear heels instead of flat shoes. She was told, “No. We have a policy that all female receptionists have to wear 2- to 4-inch heels. Go out and buy a pair, or else I’m sending you home,” according to story. So Thorp did — go home, that is.
A similar thing happened to a waitress in Alberta, Canada. Nicola Gavins was forced to wear heels during a waitressing shift until her feet bled, according to the Daily Mail.
To figure out what a “casual” dress code in the office really means, we turned to Money Crashers. For women, the site suggests that tops and skirts should “never be too tight or revealing,” but says it’s OK to be “adventurous.” Ultimately, the site says it’s always best to “err on the side of caution.”
Apparently, booty shorts are not included on that side of the fence.