Online Exclusive: Guidelines for Avoiding a Gender Stereotyping Claim
Brenna Lewis was the model employee. For about a year and a half she worked front desk night shifts at various Heartland Inns in Iowa, where managers said she did a "great job" and "fit into the [front desk] position really well."
Occasionally, a company might have a business need to enforce a stereotypical dress code, Danaher says, such as a clothing retailer that wants employees to wear certain merchandise so customers will see the company's products. Likewise, an industrial company could prohibit certain types of sleeves for safety reasons.
None of those conditions, however, applied to Lewis. Heartland's personnel manual did not even mention appearance in the front desk job description. Most importantly, the plaintiff performed well at work, earning customer praise as well as her boss' support.