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Your Guide to Cracking the Dress Code (...that doesn't exist)



AFGE-SSA agreed that supplements could be negotiated for each component. SSA, for Field Offices, proposed a DRESS CODE. Some of their proposals included provisions requiring employees to wear undergarments and to use deodorant. SSA was adamant that such proposal be included. Since the Union had told SSA that any final agreement was subject to membership ratification, the Union put up a good fight but did not send the entire supplemental agreement to impasse. The entire supplemental agreement was discussed and put to a vote at the Field Office Council's 1988 National Convention. After much discussion and many delegates volunteering to inspect their co-workers to see if they were wearing underwear and that it was clean, as you can imagine, the entire supplemental agreement was soundly defeated. The parties decided it was NOT worth the effort to renegotiate a supplemental agreement. The Dress Code was dead! Periodically, individuals managers and supervisors try to revive it; and, the Union is there to fight them!

SSA's "DRESS CODE", if you want to call it that, may be found in the Annual Personnel Reminders which is taken from the Ethical Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch [Codified in 5 C.F.R. Part 2635 (1/1/99 Edition), as amended at 64 FR 2421-2422 (Jan. 14, 1999) and 64 FR 13063-13064 (Mar. 17, 1999)]:

        Dressing Appropriately
        You are expected to observe standards of dress and appearance that are:

          • Acceptable in similar work in the community; and
          • Suitable to the work environment.

        SSA will not prescribe what you may wear unless:

          • Your mode of dress presents a safety hazard to you or others.
          • Your mode of dress disrupts employees or the public from doing official business.
          • You are required to wear a uniform or safety equipment.

Generally, the more you produce the LESS management cares about what you wear!! Dress becomes an issue (like calling in and working your lists) when your stats or the office stats suck. This is one of the ways management tries to tighten the screws.

If you come to work wearing a shirt with offensive words or dressed for the pool ,  uh,  the Union will probably will DECLINE to represent your right to wear what you are wearing BUT will VIGOROUSLY DEFEND you if management does anything other than send you home to change! For most other dress issues (capri pants, sandals with no socks, flip flops, really tight short, garments, garments slit down to there or up to there, see through with no undergarments, chains, spikes, nose-to-ear chains, prayer caps, ethnic dress) if management looks at you funny, let us know and we'll be Johnny-on-the-Spot!"