The new Star Wars movie may haven broken records, but that doesn’t mean fans of the film can break the law in celebration. This week, Lynn, MA, police officers arrested a man dressed in a stormtrooper costume for loitering within 1,000 feet of an elementary school and causing a disturbance.
His crime? Over-enthusiasm for the film, apparently, as George Cross, 40, claims to have recently bought the outfit and was simply eager to share it with the little ones.
The force wasn’t strong enough with Cross, however, as police were quickly notified that “someone was dressed up in that outfit with a gun—a fake gun,” explained Lynn Police Lieutenant Rick Donnelly, reports the Boston Globe.
“Parents could not go into the school, and the principal delayed everything because she was concerned with the party outside,” Donnelly said to the Boston Globe.
“He had no reason to be there, didn’t know anyone at the school, and he was hanging out front. In today’s day and age, some of the kids were scared and a lot of parents were concerned. He caused quite a disturbance.”
A poor decision based on good intentions, most would say. But should the law really get involved in such trivial matters of dress?
Even in the office place, policy plays an important role. One of the fastest-growing areas of litigation today pertains to poorly written or vague dress code.
In fact, plaintiffs are using traditional discrimination concepts to push the envelope in making claims of lifestyle discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender-identity, physical appearance, and other borderline privacy or personal issues.
Who draws the line between personal expression and inappropriate dress?
- Can you require an employee to hide their tattoos?
- Can you ban headwear if it’s part of someone’s personal expression?
- Can you legally require an employee to take out their tongue ring during work hours?
- Does a dress code mandating facial hair and other grooming policies invite a race discrimination claim?
- What about dress codes related to safety rules?
Does your law firm know the answer to these simple questions? Does your law firm?
If not, you and your clients may be opening yourselves up to costly litigation.
Take C4CM’s audio course “Tutus, Turbans and Tattoos: Writing and Enforcing a Legal and Effective Dress Code Policy,” on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, from 2:00PM To 3:15PM EST.
This information-packed webinar explores the tools, techniques and knowledge you need to confidently handle dress code problems, and fashion a dress code policy that’s effective and defensible.
And, if you just don’t want to bother giving it a second thought like that stormtrooper in Lynn? Well, may the force be with you.