Anyone reading this is almost certainly wearing earrings, and you probably wear different kinds of or the same style of earrings to work on a daily basis.
But what are the laws that govern wearing earrings to the workplace, and what do these laws stipulate?
Earrings In The Workplace Law (In The USA)
Many people have been working from home for more than a year now, and this means that most dress codes for the workplace were forgotten about.
But with more and more firms asking their employees to go back to the office, what is the workplace like? What are the dressing rules in the workplace today? And what is the workplace law in the US, in general?
Well, as per the Equity Act of 2010, employers cannot and shouldn’t discriminate against their employees on the basis of the elements under the protected characteristics.
These include age, sex, race, and disability. However, employees with piercings are not protected from any kind of discrimination by this Act.
That said, employers have very wide discretion when it comes to deciding whether their employees can wear piercings or earrings to work or not. In most cases, women are allowed to wear earrings to work, and no one really thinks much about it.
But this is not the case for males. In most cases, employers have been seen having policies prohibiting their male employees from wearing earrings.
The good news is that some of the local or state laws, such as the laws by the state of California, may require that employers permit their employees to dress and to appear consistent with their gender identity or their gender expression, meaning male employees that identify as female would be allowed to wear their earrings because this meets the requirements and the laws stipulated in the employer’s appearance policy.
Generally, requirements pertaining to the employees’ appearance must be based on more of a legitimate business need, such as the safety or public image, and the policies outlined must be applied uniformly to all the employees.
The only exception to this rule is made where the changes and acceptance are necessary to accommodate the employee’s religious beliefs or their observance.
Can you wear earrings at work?
Women can wear earrings at work, and there are no actual rules against women wearing earrings to or at their place of work.
But this is not the case for men, and in most institutions, men wearing earrings or the ones with piercings are often deemed as unprofessional.
This is often the case in the ‘professional’ and perhaps conservative, where men wearing earrings or having piercings is considered very unprofessional because these employees are considered lax, flamboyant, untrustworthy, immature, and unperceptive to what is expected of them on the job.
So, whether you can wear your earrings to or at work; or not is something that is entirely dependent on the culture of the workplace and if the space is modern and progressive or conservative.
In the former, you can get away with wearing earrings at work, and no one would really care much about it, as long as you get your work done.
In other workplaces, the decision to have employees not wear earrings, whether male or female, is primarily driven by other factors such as safety.
If your job involves machinery and environments that are metal averse, then it would not be ideal to have earrings or any other kinds of earrings on, for that matter.
If you work in the radiology or imagine department of the hospital, for example, wearing earrings might be the most unsafe thing to do, and in such cases, wearing earrings at work would be unsafe.
Can male employees wear earrings?
Well, it depends on the work environment, culture, and how progressive the bosses and policymakers are. In most of the professional and conservative office environments, however, male employees are not allowed to wear earrings, and they could be fired for wearing an earring.
The good news is that this only happens in very few workplaces today, since an increasing number of employers and workplaces are now very progressive, and their employees having tattoos or even multiple piercings is not something that would be frowned upon, as long as the work is being done.
Can an employer ask an employee to remove piercings?
Unfortunately, the employer not only has the right to establish the ideal dress code for their organization but he/she could request you to remove the jewelry while at work. In the case of tattoos, they may ask you to cover them up while you work and/or you’re at their place of work.
The good news is that with tattoos and body piercings becoming important fashion statements for the current generations of employees, an across-the-board prohibition or restriction and their display could be contrary to the laws.
In the Civil Rights Act, Title VII, employers who have employed at least 15 people must accommodate their employees’ sincere religious practices within reason, and unless doing this would mean the imposition of undue hardship on the employer.
In most states, therefore, religious practices are protected under non-discrimination laws, and most employees use these laws to protect themselves and to have the piercings and jewelry they love.
Can an employer tell you what to wear?
Generally, employers have the autonomy to regulate the overall appearance of their employees, as long as these regulations are not discriminatory. And most employers actually feel that employees wearing formal attire improve their productivity.
But in most cases, the employer may or may not set a dress code that their employees are expected to follow. So, some employees are restrictive, and others aren’t.
At the same time, the industry you work in matters a great deal, with most of the creative firms being the most flexible ones in that anyone can wear whatever they feel most creative and most authentic in.
Different places of work have different rules that employees follow, and these rules determine what they can wear and what they cannot wear.
So, earrings are okay in some organizations and unacceptable in others, especially for men.
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Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.