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 If you don’t wear the same shoes, you can’t work with us

Whats in the news?

Lindsay Lohan has publicly threatened (over Instagram) to ‘fire’ two members of staff over mismatched footwear.

The Hollywood star opened ‘Lohan Beach House’, a VIP club, in Greece last month and on Saturday she took to the Lohan Rhodes Beach House Instagram account to comment on a photo of two waitresses to say ‘wear the same shoes please’ with the threat ‘or you’re fired’. One waitress wore a pair of white platform sandals whereas the other wore a pair of nude sandals.

What does the news mean?

This is an example of how the world is changing when it comes to communication and how it is still important to think about the impact of what you may write on social media as an employer or an employee. There are a few legal questions which come to mind: a) is it appropriate to threaten dismissal so publicly and does it “count” if it is over social media? b) can you dismiss someone for failing to adhere to dress code and c) what employment laws would apply if the waitresses live and are domiciled in Greece?

What do we think of the news?

Dismissal via an offhand comment on social media could be enough to be taken as a dismissal. The additional risk of social media is what effect these comments may have on the workers – this could bring the employee’s reputation into disrepute and affect their popularity/likelihood of getting work moving forward. In England and Wales (we can’t report on Greece we’re afraid – although there may be an argument that the correct laws would be local Greek laws depending on the circumstances) an employer who dismisses an employee without, for example, carrying out reasonable investigations or following a fair procedure could risk a claim. As to the question of whether the failure to wear matching shoes would amount to misconduct warranting dismissal, perhaps it depends on the shoes.

Adopting a dress code in the workplace is commonplace and will be permitted so long as any requirements imposed by an employer are not discriminatory. Often a policy is in place so that workers have a standardised appearance. Alternatively, it may be that there are health and safety hazards which need to be addressed. It is arguable therefore that there is nothing wrong with Lohan’s requirement for uniform attire across her staff/workforce because of the brand she is trying to build.

If you would like to talk through any concerns you may have in relation to your specific workplace policies or on how to dismiss employees fairly you can contact Associate, Siobhan Howard-Palmer on T: 0161 358 0537 or E: siobhanhoward-palmer@hrclaw.co.uk.

This contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.