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Sex discrimination: EAT rules dress and appearance standards not discriminatory

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    M Schmidt v Austicks Bookshops Ltd [1977] IRLR 360 EAT (0 other reports)

Rules which lay down standards of dress and appearance for both women and men are unlikely to constitute unlawful discrimination on grounds of sex, even if they impose different requirements on women (such as prohibition on wearing trousers) than on men, based on the difference in sexes.

This is the principle which emerges from the recent EAT case of Schmidt v Austicks Bookshops, in which the EAT states: "An employer is entitled to a large measure of discretion in controlling the image of his establishment, including the appearance of staff, and especially so when, as a result of their duties, they come into contact with the public."

Miss Schmidt was dismissed after her refusal to wear a skirt.