Dansie v Metropolitan Police 2009 UKEAT/0234/09

Mr Dansie had long hair which he wore in a bun. He was told to cut it as the dress code for male police officers was for short hair and did so only when he was threatened with disciplinary action. He claimed sex discrimination on the basis that a female employee would not have been required to cut her hair. The tribunal found that there was a difference in treatment. However the police could provide a non-discriminatory explanation for this so as to discharge their burden of proof of sex discrimination. The Court of Appeal held that the issue of dress code was to be considered as a whole. A dress code which applied a conventional standard of appearance to both sexes requiring each to display equivalent levels of smartness, was not in itself discriminatory. So Mr Dansie lost his appeal.

Key point: Employers should take care when implementing dress codes to ensure they are as far as practicable gender neutral, overall.