SCORCHING summer heat can leave everyone's work dress code a bit confused, but for those of us who have to wear suits every day it can be even more difficult to navigate.
Men in particular can struggle to find professional clothes that are suitable for the summer – but what can they get away with wearing while still remaining professional?
Can men wear shorts at work?
Unless your office has a dressed-down code, it's unlikely your boss will be thrilled if you turn up wearing shorts.
While there is no law that says men – or anyone else for that matter – are unable to wear shorts, it is generally frowned upon.
This is because it isn't a smart look and can leave employees looking unprofessional.
But it does depend on what your office would deem acceptable, and the general dress code adopted there.
Who develops the dress code?
Employers can set dress codes, and employees must abide by them.
It is a set of standards that say what is appropriate for workers to wear.
Dress code can sometimes be a legitimate part of an employer's terms and conditions of employment.
While standards for men and women don't have to be identical, the government guidelines say they should be equivalent.
There are cases of unlawful dress codes where female employees have been required to wear high heels.
What do unions say about it?
After receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from work for not wearing high heels a petition was sent to the government.
This was rejected but new guidance on work dress code is expected in 2018.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This is a welcome step towards getting rid of sexist dress codes in the workplace. But the new guidance won't be enough if working people can't afford to take sexist bosses to a tribunal."
Also the TUC wants to make it illegal to keep people at work indoors if the temperature is above 30C, and put protection in place for people working outside or driving for a living.
Unfortunately, there isn't a legally defined maximum or minimum temperature for offices yet.
But your employer is responsible for "keeping the temperature at a comfortable level" and there are rules that could allow you to leave if the office is too hot.
If you're a vulnerable employee – for example if you're pregnant or are undergoing the menopause, or if you need to wear protective equipment at work so can't take off layers – that also has to be taken into account.
The HSE explains: “If a significant number of employees are complaining about thermal discomfort, your employer should carry out a risk assessment, and act on the results of that assessment.”
So the answer is simple – if you're uncomfortable, tell your boss and if enough people complain then they have to act.
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