Do you think Cohen had a right to be offended? Why or why not?
When it comes to discussing dress code, opinions may vary considerably, mostly because there seem to be no established rules as for the outfits which employees are to wear in the companies worldwide or even countrywide. Since every enterprise or even a smaller company has full rights to set its specific dress code rules, the employees’ right to wear whatever they want as long as the clothes do not abuse the existing morals is quite hard to prove. Because of considerably loose general instructions of how employees should dress in the companies, Cohen’s case is rather hard to judge. However, in the above-mentioned situation, it seems that both opponents were mistaken.
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On the one hand, the employee who commented on Jennifer’s looks should have chosen different tactics to express her opinion on the woman’s clothes. While there is nothing wrong with the former passing a judgment on the way in which Jennifer dressed, it should have been worded in a milder form. Thus, Jennifer’s feelings would not have been hurt and she would have considered the criticism in a more constructive way. Secondly, the critic should have taken into account that his/her idea of dressing properly is not the only right one and other options are possible.
However, Jennifer could have also kept in mind that for official events like a meeting, a more conservative manner of dressing is appropriate and that some conservative people might consider her looks too vulgar or careless. Therefore, both opponents have a lot to learn in terms of diplomacy.
In explaining why she was offended, Cohen argued, “People my age are taught to express themselves, and saying something negative about someone’s fashion is saying something negative about them.” Do you agree with Cohen?
While it is rather unpleasant when someone accuses one of being dressed in a too vulgar manner or wearing something that other people might interpret as a sign of silliness, I do not think that what people wear defines their personality. For me personally, clothes perform their basic function, namely, serve as a number of items which are supposed to be out on each for a specific occasion, be it a business meeting, a walk along the seashore or a party at a friend’s house.
Therefore, any clothes convey a certain message to people, and, sadly enough, these messages are mostly stereotypical: a business suit for working in the office, a jacket and jeans for having a walk, a pajama for sleeping. There is a place for expressing oneself with the help of clothes, a dn that place is definitely not the office. Hence, I believe that Cohen was wrong in the given case.
Does an employer have an unfettered right to set a company’s dress code? Why or why not?
As it has been mentioned before, it seems to me that a company must offer a certain dress code or, at least, certain boundaries in terms of clothes, for its employees. If employees start setting their own dress codes, first of all, numerous arguments will emerge, since people have different ideas of a dress code; and, secondly, the possibility for an inappropriate dress code to be set (e.g., the rule for employees to wear only blue clothes, or forbidding to wear jeans) is quite high. Hence, a company must provide its own dress code for all employees.