Want to read in Dutch? Click here.
“Uggs; they should be banned”. You have probably heard this sentence before. In the summer it’s the Crocs, in the winter it’s the Uggs that people dislike in the workplace. Generally speaking. Because there are still people who love these fluffy shoes. What do you do as an employer, when you think that Uggs are not presentable, but your employees have a different opinion? Can you ban Uggs in the workplace? Or is that a misconception?
They should be banned
Research shows that a third of the people in the Netherlands would rather not see Uggs at work. Those are probably the people shouting that they should be banned. Including myself, by the way, I once was one of those people. But banning is a strong word. Besides, would you dare to say out loud that you ban these shoes because you think they’re ugly?
There has been a lawsuit in which this issue was raised as part of a labor dispute. It involved a lady who was head of a collection department. Due to a reorganization, she met up with her supervisor to discuss a potential job as account manager. During the meeting it was pointed out that being presentable was an important requirement of the job and that she would therefore not be a good fit. So partly because she was wearing Uggs and jeans, she did not qualify for this job.
Is that okay?
The labor dispute involved several issues, but for this article I will limit myself to the Uggs. The court judge ruled that you are allowed to apply clothing regulations and that you can set certain requirements when it concerns a client-facing job. The judge even pointed out that he understood that Uggs are not presentable for this job.
I understand the judge’s decision. When a professional look is important for the job, Uggs are not an option. I personally would never reject an applicant for a job based on their Uggs and jeans. Because there is a good chance that this person is willing to change their style when that is required. In fact, I have often seen people change their style when they aspire a certain position. They realize that a certain look helps them getting picked for the job and then dress accordingly. And why not?
Anyway, my advice would be to wear the Uggs comfortably at home. Even now that it starts freezing more and more. A sturdy leather boot with thick socks also works wonders when you are cold.