Opinion: Employers need to create safe workplaces for all


Photo via Internet

Japanese saleswomen are having their outfits restricted by their employers.

Abby Fowler, Staff Writer

Recently, Japanese employers have strongly advised their female employees against wearing any form of eyewear in the workplace. Some companies have even gone as far as to completely ban female eyewear in the work environment.

In Japanese retail outlets, managers claim that glasses give off “cold expressions” for their saleswomen; restaurants stated that they clashed with their traditional outfits, like kimonos, which employees are required to wear.

However, these “suggestions” were not applied to men. The restrictions were strictly focussed on female employees and the way that they accessorize. 

Ever since the restrictions were broadcast on television, the women of Japan have raised their voices on the subject, and have been protesting by various Twitter hashtags, holding rallies at the heart of their government, or even wearing outrageous glasses to work everyday.

Last year Long Island, N.Y., resident Chakia Harvell claimed to have a similar experience.

According to an article in the New York Post, Harvell said that her manager at a timeshare agency assured that it was acceptable to wear suits and ties to her work. But later a human resources staffer told her that her clothes were “too masculine” and “unprofessional for the workplace,” Harvell said. 

The human resources representative urged Harvell to observe the other women at work and to mimic their workplace attire, she said.

Harvell was eventually let go from her job for allegedly being late to work, though she has filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination in the workplace.

Overall, people and employers need to accept and understand the diverse way people dress.

Further, employers shouldn’t immediately judge or discriminate against someone due to their style.

The workplace should be a safe space for every employee, a place where they feel accepted and free to be themselves.