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DHHS dress-code policy spells out what's OK and what's grounds for dismissal

Dome isn’t sure if this is part of the Republican takeover of state government or not. But on Monday state Department of Health and Human Services employees were given a formal department-wide dress-code policy for the first time.

The policy memo by human resources director Kathleen Gruer informs DHHS workers: “Personal appearance and hygiene play an important role in projecting a professional image in the community and to DHHS’ customers.”

It goes on to advise “Daily grooming and bathing are required. Clothing should be clean, pressed and in good condition (i.e., no holes, frays, tears, dangling threads, etc.).”

The policy defines business attire (wing tips and loafers are OK for men; dress shoes, sandals, boots or flats for women, for example). Casual Fridays for executives and supervisors allow blazers, Dockers-style twill pants and polo shirts for guys; “dressy capris” no shorter than mid-calf or skirts for gals (no penalty for fashion violations).

And there’s a long list of what not to wear, including provocative clothing, T-shirts, tube tops, mini-skirts, denim, underwear as outerwear, beach wear, evening wear, hats or flip-flops.

There are a lot of employees in DHHS – about 17,000 – and they do a lot of different jobs. A spokeswoman said Tuesday the policy simply sets general guidelines for workers to use common sense.

But HQ isn't' taking it lightly. Violations can send an employee home on their own time to change, and can lead to two warnings and a third, fire-able offense


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