Iv recently been diagnosed with ASD and was wondering if anyone had ever felt uncomfortable with a companies dress code?
My workplace is changing from casual to suits (Formal) even tough we don't see anyone and work purely by phone. I find suits very uncomfortable especial the restrictiveness of wearing a tucked in shirt to trousers and have always opted for black jeans in the event of a one off occasion.
Wearing restrictive clothes general causes me to sweat (To the point I would be asked if I just got out the shower) and feel really hot.
I was wondering if anyone knows if there is anything I could do?
Has anyone else had this issue?
Would it count as a reasonable adjustment to wear dark jeans? If so would my employer have to allow it?
Thank you and please leave any other thoughts as it is of interest.
I would find this very challenging. I don't like tight, inflexible clothing. I like it to be comfortable and loose. I wear black trousers (this was a big step for me), black trainers and a comfortable, plain jumper for work. It's never been an issue. Our dress code isn't casual but it isn't as formal as suits either. I would find it really uncomfortable wearing more formal clothing. I'm female by the way.
I would have thought clothing could be a reasonable adjustment. Especially as you work over the phone so really why is it an issue anyway. It's certainly worth a discussion.
As to whether your employer has to allow it is a little more complicated as it depends a little on what they think is reasonable. Others on here have had experience asking for reasonable adjustments. It's not something I've ever had to do.
Thank you for replying.
I have pushed the issue with my employer that I am never seen anyway, and was told that I must wear a suit. I think they are doing this to be awkward.
I am now in the process of getting a Doctors note in relation to my ASD in hopes this will help with my employers decision.
I will never understand things like this. What possible reason do you need to wear a suit for?
Does your employer know about your asd?
I don’t understand it either. When I asked about why we have to start dressing formally they just said it’s their vision.
My employer is aware of my ASD. They have a copy of my diagnosis but I think they are unaware of the challenges someone with ASD might face. I’m hoping the doctors note will help them with any understandings.
Having to wear suits even though most of your work is by phone doesn't seem to make much sense!I hope your doctor's note will help him understand how uncomfortable and challenging wearing suits can be, and make some adjustments.
Wearing more formal dress for work, whether it is working on the phones or face to face contact with the general public, has a huge psychological impact on employees, in all sorts of ways, and of course, therefore the company. There is a lot of research to back this up.
However, it is not unreasonable at all, to request adjustments in this area, to suit you. Dress is a major component for autistic people, which has a major impact on us, in all sorts of ways, so this would definitely come under reasonable adjustments.
If I’m not wearing the right clothes, for example, my concentration levels drop significantly and everything else is affected. Literally everything. You could ask your manager to imagine what it would be like if he had to go into work naked everyday but with something restrictive around his neck that made him feel even more uncomfortable. Something like that. And say that’s how uncomfortable you would be in a suit.
Maybe start jotting down all the ways in which wearing a suit would affect you. And if anybody else can think of any ways clothing effects us, write them down, even if they are only pointers to you.
And maybe say that all these things can be counteracted by wearing comfortable clothes.
And for extra support, maybe you could get something legal to back you up. Meaning, maybe contact NAS on their helpline or email service, and ask them to let you know how you stand legally, and if there is any information you could print off to give to your employers.
And remember, every autistic person is different and will therefore respond differently to different situations etc. So all you are trying to do, initially, is to somehow communicate to your boss, how important dress is to you, in a similar way that it is to the company. So you want them to understand how you are effected by different materials/clothing etc so they natural will be able to see that it would be unreasonable and counter productive for them to request that you adhere strictly to the new dress code.
I wonder why your employer is moving from casual to formal in dress code if nothing else has changed about the work you do. Have they given reasons?
I used to work in an office at a law courts - a very strict and formal place, as you might imagine - and as part of my job I had to deal every day with members of the public. When I started there, all the men wore either suits or formal jackets and trousers - and shirt and tie was the norm. However, over time, staff increasingly asked if clothing could become less formal and restrictive. It was a bit of a gender issue, too, as women were allowed to wear less formal clothing (at the time, F C U K clothing was the fashion, and several women wore those tops - which even I didn't think was appropriate when dealing with members of the public!) In the end, management decided that it would be alright for everyone. Men could wear casual shirts or polo shirts, just as long as they had a collar. Black jeans were also accepted. It made no difference to the work we did. If anything, it improved matters as people felt more comfortable. I liked wearing a suit, but I preferred looser clothing. I still occasionally wore my suit, but it was nice now to have a choice.
What do other staff think of this move? Presumably, some of them are going to have to fork out for a new wardrobe, which won't please them - unless your employer is prepared to subsidise it, which only seems reasonable to me.
As they have your diagnosis, I think you have every right to tell them that this change won't suit you (sorry for the pun!) and that they should make some allowances for you. If they refuse, it could be classed as discrimination. It's not as if, from the sounds of it, the dress code is an essential aspect of doing your job.
Some employers are more flexible than others. I recently went for a job at a local FE college, where I was told I could wear pretty much what I liked (hoodies, trainers, t-shirts) - but not jeans. I only have jeans, so asked if black jeans were okay. They said yes to those. They just didn't want to see any blue denim. Strangely, though, you could wear a blue denim shirt if you wanted!
I’m exactly the same! I’ve always had issues with clothes, and dressing smart and feeling restricted and uncomfortable can literally leave me unable to focus or do anything. I can sit completely motionless for hours because I’m physically too uncomfortable to move, and I can’t think about anything other than how uncomfortable I am.
I’ve had difficulties in the past with employers telling me I need to dress smarter, and to stop rotating the same two tops throughout the week and buy some more or lose my job, etc.
I don’t have any advice I’m afraid, but following with interest. Maybe contact access to work as they can discuss what you would like as reasonable adjustments?
The only reason they have for the change was they have a vision.
The good thing is they realised how irritating this is to me today as they noticed my stats go down and allowed me to relax a bit. All I have to wear are the trousers (Which I still find restrictive but bareable)
After they allowed me to relax I beat all my targets.
I always thought i was different compared to other colleagues when it came to work wear, in the end I refused to wear my chefs jacket and settled for a plain white tshirt instead, the material was awful.
after 15 years of suffering catering uniforms, i hated wearing chef whites I ended up looking for a job where i didn't have any uniform what so ever. When I found one it gives me the freedom to wear whatever I like.
Only nightmare now is findingf a fresh nice outfit for work 4 days a week haha :)