County wants workers to upgrade their attire

tflach@thestate.comNovember 19, 2008 

Jeans and T-shirts soon might be no-nos for most of Lexington County’s 1,300 workers while they’re on the job.

County Council gave the go-ahead Tuesday for finalizing a dress code for county employees.

The requirements to counter what county human resources director Lori Adler said is the growing popularity of “unprofessional dress” are taking shape.

Council members agreed standards are needed to stop what they see as workplace attire that is becoming too casual.

“It’s to get them in line,” said Councilman Bill Banning, of West Columbia.

Wearing jeans with holes in them and shirts with slogans with violent or sexual overtones is becoming common, county administrator Katherine Hubbard said.

“More and more days are becoming a relaxed dress code,” she said.

The proposed standards would let workers know what is expected, she said.

Reliance on a dress code varies among counties and municipalities, Adler said. The plan taking shape in Lexington County would allow only workers whose jobs require construction and other outdoor labor to wear jeans.

It would bar the display of tattoos with “pornographic or violent images” as well as restrict the display of jewelry for multiple piercings.

What is deemed proper attire varies significantly among supervisors, Hubbard and Adler said.

Some council members said the proposed standards are overkill. Improperly dressed workers should be sent home to change and warned not to do it again, they said.

A dress code is “swatting a fly with a sledge hammer,” Councilman John Carrigg, of St. Andrews, said. “You’re not going to be able to set this out hard and fast.”

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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