Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Publishing firms

Legal Developments worldwide

Men in shorts

February 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

More articles by this firm.

20-01-2009 - If women can wear shorts to work, so can men. This was established by the Danish Gender Equality Board in a discrimination complaint.

Decision by the Danish Gender Equality Board

Yvonne Frederiksen
yf@norrbomvinding.com

If women can wear shorts to work, so can men. This was established by the Danish Gender Equality Board in a discrimination complaint.

Men and women must be treated equally in the workplace. This principle is embodied in s 4 of the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women. An employer failed to respect this principle, banning men - but not women - from wearing shorts to work.

A male financial consultant showed up for work wearing shorts, as he had done so many times before at his former workplace. But after the local government reform he was employed at a new local authority under a new manager, who did not want male employees walking around in shorts at work.

The employee ignored this, which resulted in verbal reprimands. The third time he showed up in shorts, he received a written reprimand.

This sparked a complaint to the Danish Gender Equality Board, the employee believing that the employer's directions conflicted with s 4 of the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women since only men were banned from wearing shorts.

The Board found in favour of the employee. The employer had argued that men in shorts makes other people think of holidays and relaxation and shows unprofessionalism. That argument, however, was not accepted by the Board because the same rules did not apply to women. That being said, the employee was not awarded compensation because he had only been reprimanded.

Norrbom Vinding notes: 

  • that the decision is an example of the challenges faced by employers in introducing a dress code at work 

This information does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such

For more information please visit www.norrbomvinding.com