What is Walmart's dress code

Nothing upsets workers more than bosses spying on them. There have been many such cases in the past. The discounter Lidl, for example, had employees monitored with hidden cameras. The company hired detectives to spy on the living conditions of the employees. The textile discounter Kik is even said to have checked the private financial situation of its employees.

Railway, post office and telecom and others had fallen into disrepute. The railway, for example, monitored employees and listened to phone calls because it wanted to track down corruption. And Telekom had phone calls from employees and journalists monitored. Swiss Post kept medical files on employees at some locations and even collected the most intimate details about the health of employees.

It was all wrong.

A very special regulation from the US supermarket chain Wal-Mart was also not okay. It wanted to enforce in its so-called ethical guidelines that employees avoid private contacts. The matter ended up in court: The German works council had taken action against these ethical guidelines. The labor court in Wuppertal prohibited some provisions in the 28-page treatise, including the ban on flirting.

Wal-Mart wanted to dictate to employees: "You must not go out or have a romantic relationship with someone if you can influence that person's working conditions or if the employee can influence your working conditions." The guideline also prohibits "sexually interpretable communication of any kind". The Verdi union saw the court's decision as a success. The code contained serious encroachments on personal rights, it was said at the time. Wal-Mart has long since withdrawn from Germany and sold its German branches to competitor Metro.

The Apple training book even prescribes body language

However, not every rule of conduct is immoral. This includes, for example, when sellers are given the wording. After all, they have a say in the company's image in the shops. Instructions and language rules are common in many companies. This should ensure a uniform appearance and a clear customer approach. The US computer company Apple, for example, is said to have summarized such language rules in a workbook.

The Apple book is circulating in excerpts on the technology blog gizmodo. There are clear instructions to salespeople and advisors as to what they can and cannot say. For example, on the index is the word "crash". "Never say crash," says the blog. Apple computers don't crash, they "don't answer". "Problems" are "situations" or "conditions". The laptops do not run “hot”, but “heat up” and the products are by no means “incompatible”, but “do not work together”.

The training book is even supposed to dictate body language: those who rub their nose or eyes are signaling secrecy, those who put their heads in their hands show boredom and those who sit on the edge of a chair are open-minded and cooperative. The aim of all instructions is to make the customer feel good. He should leave the shop happy and satisfied with a sales contract in his pocket.

A Duz rule cannot be enforced

Companies are also allowed to specify a dress code - especially for employees with customer contact. This was decided by the Cologne Regional Labor Court two years ago for the passenger control officers at Cologne / Bonn Airport. Since then, they have only been allowed to appear in white or flesh-colored underwear if this serves to protect the uniforms provided by the employer and to ensure a neat appearance. Patternlessness and colorlessness also applies to fine tights and socks.

In addition, the boss can request that the hair be washed and the beard shaved. The fact that men were forbidden to dye their hair and that women should only paint their fingernails in one color went too far for the judges. Dress codes are also common at banks. At the major Swiss bank UBS, tight skirts and brightly colored ties are frowned upon for counter employees.

On the other hand, it is undisputed that a Duz regulation, as with the Ikea furniture store, cannot be enforced. However, employees may turn themselves into outsiders if they insist on "you". If the "you" is part of the corporate culture, then you should stick to it - or look for a new company.