Against all objections, I hired a woman from the manufacturing floor into a customer care position in an office environment. She was so proud to have made that leap, and dressed like a movie star every day. Full makeup, hair done up, blouses, skirts and heels.
So what’s the problem? First, she had a drop dead gorgeous body that men could not tear their eyes away from. Her clothing tended to be tight, and her heels high.
I get the dreaded call from Human Resources: “Can you please speak with (Diane)? When she walks down into manufacturing everyone stops to stare at her and it’s affecting production.” “Oh,” I say, “the men ogle her and somehow it’s HER fault?” I got the infamous HR sigh in return, asking if I’d seen her today. “Yes,” I said, “she’s worn that outfit before.”
Getting nowhere, the HR rep tried a different approach. He asked if I knew the dress code, particularly as it applied to high heels. Why yes, I did. I asked Diane to come into my office, explained there were safety concerns about her heels, and together we measured her heel height which, as you might guess, fell within the standard.
Told the HR rep that her heels fell within guidelines, and he was stumped. He felt that her dress simply wasn’t appropriate even though it met all published guidelines, rules & standards.
I asked a thought-provoking question, “If I wore the same outfit that Diane is wearing, with the same heels, would that be a problem?” “No,” he said, “it wouldn’t look the same on you.”
In addition to feeling somewhat disrespected while acknowledge that I’m not nearly as shapely, i retorted, “Well, it isn’t her clothes then, is it? It’s her body you object to.”