City of Marion looks to dress code for office employees

Denim out of fashion for workers

City of Marion employees will not be allowed to wear jeans as part of a new dress code. (Courtesy of Paige Denim/MCT)
City of Marion employees will not be allowed to wear jeans as part of a new dress code. (Courtesy of Paige Denim/MCT)

MARION — Leave the denim skirts and bluejeans, the “casual” sleeveless tops and hiking boots at home.

Those items are now identified as “non-acceptable dress” in the standards spelled out in the city of Marion’s proposed new dress code for those who work in a city office or spend the majority of their time interacting with the public.

Amanda Kaufman, assistant to the city manager, on Thursday said the city is not enacting a new dress code because employees are dressing badly.

“It’s not a reactive policy in any way,” Kaufman said. “We never really had anything in place before.”

“It’s important to have (a dress code) in a personnel policy because we want to project a polished and professional image in our interactions with the public,” she said.

Kaufman said the City Council this week had few questions about the proposed policy and agreed to move the measure on to a formal vote two weeks from now.

Kaufman said the city of Marion reviewed dress code policies from a number of cities around the country before settling on the details for its proposed policy.

She said the city’s department heads sought comments from employees about the policy as it was evolving toward a final version.

Employee input resulted in “professional blouses/dresses without sleeves” being included in appropriate “businesslike attire” and “casual sleeveless tops” landing on the “prohibited attire” list, she said.

The city of Cedar Rapids does not have a dress code, but leaves such matters up to individual department directors, said Conni Huber, the city of Cedar Rapids’ human resources director.

The proposed Marion policy states that city office workers and others who interact a great deal with the public are required to dress in “a businesslike manner during all working hours.”

“Clothing should be clean, wrinkle-free, without holes or tears and in otherwise good condition,” the policy states. “Clothing shall not be revealing in nature, nor shall it promote illicit activity or profanity.”

Other items prohibited for office-type employees are: sneakers; work boots; open-toed shoes such as sandals, flip flops and open-toed high heels; T-shirts; sweat shirts; athletic wear, including yoga pants; shorts and hats.

The policy loosens up a little for Fridays, allowing “dark-colored” denim at the discretion of the city manager.

The policy prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages and involvement in political activities when Marion city employees are wearing employee badges or official city of Marion apparel.

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