HR0820-H – Professional Attire


Resp. Office: HUMAN


Effective Date: 11/15/2014

Category: Employee Relations

Last Review: 03/06/2020

Next Review: 03/06/2023

Contact: Rebekka Freeman

🕿 901.448.3053


Related Policies:


The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) strives to maintain a work environment that is well functioning and free from unnecessary distractions. As an employee, your appearance is a reflection of the University. Therefore, maintaining a professional and business oriented appearance is very important to the continued success of our organization.


Regular full-time, part-time, and temporary staff.


Human Resources and/or the department may exercise reasonable discretion to determine appropriateness in professional attire, grooming, and work area, on a case by case basis. Departments are encouraged to create dress code standards that relate to their specific work environment. Employees who do not meet a professional standard may be subject to disciplinary action and sent home to change without compensation for time off.


Employees are expected to be cognizant of their attire and grooming habits as they interact with staff, faculty, students, contractors and/or the public. This means that employees are expected to use good judgment and to show courtesy by dressing in a manner that is professional, appropriate, and non-distracting to others. It is expected that employees maintain an appropriate work area. All employees are expected to carry or wear the UTHSC identification badge at all times while at work.

Should employees be asked to attend business meetings as a representative of the University, they should dress in the appropriate business or business casual attire in order to meet the specific requirements of the department.


It is important that employees maintain a conservative, neat, and clean appearance appropriate for the work environment.

Business attire includes suits, sports jackets, and pants for men, and dresses, pants, skirts, and blouses for women. Some departments may take a “business casual” approach, which includes the above, but may also include collared shirts, golf or “polo” shirts, and pressed khaki pants. As a health sciences institute, many departments may adopt scrubs, laboratory coats, or other attire normally associated with the medical or dental professions.

Attire that is not appropriate for the workplace includes t-shirts, tight or short pants/skirts, tank tops, halter tops, low-cut blouses or sweaters, or any extreme style or fashion in dress, footwear, accessories, fragrances, or hair. Footwear that is not appropriate as business attire includes flip-flops, sneakers, and open sandals.

Certain employees may be required to meet special dress, grooming, and hygiene standards, such as wearing uniforms or protective clothing, depending on the nature of their job, which will be defined by the department.

Some departments adopt casual or dress-down days. In this instance, employees are still expected to adhere to the aforementioned appearance but are not permitted to wear ripped, frayed clothing, disheveled clothing, work-out gear, tight clothing, revealing or otherwise workplace-inappropriate clothing is not permitted on any given day. Departments may also adopt days for the wearing of University of Tennessee logo apparel in support of various sports or school events.

Reasonable Religious Accommodation

The University recognizes the importance of individually held religious beliefs of its employees. Therefore, we will reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs in terms of workplace attire, unless such accommodation creates an undue hardship. Those requesting a workplace attire accommodation based on religious beliefs should contact the Office of Equity and Diversity at 901-448- 2112 (910 Madison Ave., Suite 820, Memphis, TN 38163).

HR0820-H – Professional Attire
Version: 1 // Effective: 11/15/2014
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