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Long Story Shorts, Clothes Are Clothes

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 4, 2023

I used to work in a first-response call centre for a national security company, i.e., manning the security cameras of many local shops and public places and responding to alarms, etc. This call centre had no physical contact with anyone outside, save for phone calls. I say this to make clear that it wouldn’t matter at all, to anyone, what the people working there wore — save for our coworkers sitting next to us, I guess.

In the summer, the office was badly air-conditioned and could turn into a sauna, basically. So, some of my male coworkers showed up in shorts and sandals. (I’m female.)

Manager: “You cannot dress like that.”

Male Coworker: “Why not?”

Manager: “It’s unprofessional, and it goes against our dress code: long pants and closed-toed shoes only. We have a basic uniform for a reason.”

The “uniform” consisted of a T-shirt or polo with the company logo and black dress pants or skirts for female employees.

The male coworkers read over the terms of the dress code, and of course, nowhere did it mention that the skirts were only for female employees.

So… for the next three or four shifts, almost all male employees showed up in skirts.

Headquarters were a bit confused when the order for new uniforms came in, seeing as only two women worked there and would need skirts, but they fulfilled the order and sent the skirts. The call centre was now populated by mostly very burly, bearded men in skirts, and I loved [Manager]’s face when he stared them all down. By the way, I chose to wear long pants because I hate skirts and was suffering in the heat, as well.

Manager: “This is unacceptable! You’re going against the dress code and making a mockery of it!”

Male Coworkers: “We’re actually not. Read it yourself.”

Manager: “Then I will add it to the dress code!”

He tried, but he found out that changes like that would have to go through higher levels, and the people at that level were not at all happy to hear about chances of “sexual discrimination” and similar things simply because of a few skirts.

The end of the story? The company decided to add the option of shorts to their uniform, which most of the male employees happily accepted, as did I. However, two of my male coworkers kept wearing the skirts because they’d found them to be far more comfortable.

[Manager] absolutely hated it.

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