Can The "I Know It When I See It" Test Be Applied to The Dress Code?

In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced...but I know it when I see it..."

Now, you're asking, what does porn have to do with my office?

Ever come across an employee that seems to dress just a little too sexy, or has a few too many holes on their face to be dealing with the customers, or is dressed for a day at the ballpark instead of the office park? You review your company dress code and discover that, technically, there are no rules being broken. You've added a general catch-all for "inappropriate attire" to your formal policy, but how do you define it? Return to Justice Stewart..."I know it when I see it."

One of your employees keeps walking back and forth to the copier in her form-fitting dress and spiked heels, causing raised eyebrows from some and lascivious leers from others. In the same department, another employee wears a similar outfit - yet with a different fit and figure, doesn't cause a stir. There is nothing in either case that would technically violate the dress code, item by item - and only one of the ladies is creating a distraction and making people feel uncomfortable. And there is nothing in your policy that specifically spells out what constitutes "inappropriate attire." Does "I know it when I see it" allow you to address the one employee?

Bigger question: can you or should you address only the one causing the stir; or does it create a fairness issue with regards to the other employee not being addressed?

Beware of deceptive claims

As a general rule, I appreciate strong competition. After all, healthy competition is good for our business and for our customers. It keeps us focused on what customers really want and need, and on continually improving our quality and service levels.

But lately we've been hearing about deceptive tactics being used by some labor law poster providers that, frankly, have me incensed. And I'm not alone. This information came to our attention as a result of customers calling us for reassurance and to express their outrage.

One customer received a personal visit to his business from an individual who showed a badge and implied that he was with the worker's compensation department to gain access to the business premises. He proceeded to "audit" the company's postings and then offered posters for purchase.

Another customer was threatened with fines and jail time if she failed to order posters from a caller by 5 p.m. that day. When the customer told the caller that she ordered her posters from G.Neil, she was told that G.Neil was no longer in business.

A corporate manager for one of our larger Poster Guard customers received a call from a branch in another state. A person visited the branch and misrepresented himself as an employee of G.Neil, saying that the branch was not covered by Poster Guard and they were out of compliance.

Unscrupulous tactics like these give our entire industry a bad name. In fact, the Attorneys General in several states are specifically targeting deceptive labor law marketers. Here at G.Neil, we're joining the fight to clean up our industry and we're asking for your help.

If you have had a similar experience with one of these companies, please consider taking the time to file a complaint with your State Attorney General or Consumer Protection office. Click here for direct links to file a complaint online, download a complaint form, or find instructions on filing a complaint in your state.

And finally, selecting a reliable, trustworthy provider for your labor law posters and labor law poster services is critical to protect your business. Before you make a buying decision, be sure to check the seller's Reliability Report from the Better Business Bureau by visiting We also invite you to view G.Neil's Reliability Report.

Where to File a Complaint

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Federal Minimum Wage Bill Gets Nudge from Iraq War Vote

On March 29, 2007, the Senate passed the Iraq war spending bill that included language that will increase the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. The raise in the federal minimum wage, however, is unlikely to pass with this legislation since President Bush has vowed to veto it since the bill calls for a March 2008 pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The addition of the minimum wage issue to the Iraq spending bill, however, allows House and Senate Democrats to begin negotiations on the size of small business tax cuts that have divided House and Senate Democrats. In early March, House Democrats attached the federal minimum wage legislation to the budget bill in order to speed the agreement between chambers on the size of the package of small business tax breaks.

Although the federal minimum wage increase is likely doomed when the bill reaches the White House, minimum wage supporters see value in its inclusion. Once a compromise on the size of the tax breaks is hammered out, a new minimum wage bill can be brought forward later and possibly passed, either as stand alone legislation or as part of a less controversial budget package.

Bill Samuel, of the AFL-CIO, said “This is a step forward but not a final one.” Samuel predicts another minimum wage bill could be produced by mid-to-late April. By then, the tax-breaks would presumably be worked out between the House and Senate.

Stay tuned...

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