Should I let my retail staff wear political party T-shirts?

Should I let my retail staff wear political party T-shirts?

Dear Aunty B,

I’m a retail operator and I employ a number of casual staff, some of whom are university students. They do a great job and I’m mostly very happy with them, but I’m in a bit of a bind about what to do about one particular employee’s choice of attire.

We sell all sorts of crafty, handmade products and we have a reasonably ‘progressive’ – I guess you’d say ­– clientele. However, one of my employees wore a Greens political party T-shirt into work the other day and it made me a little uneasy.

Should I let my staff wear whatever they want, including political T-shirts, or should I ask them to maybe stick with something more neutral?

Old Hippy,



Dear Old Hippy,

I can see why you would be wary of letting staff wear whatever they want in your store. After all, you do want them to represent your business in the best way possible. This applies to not only T-shirts with slogans but also things like the cleanliness of their clothing, the skimpiness of their outfits, or how appropriate the attire is for the work they are undertaking.

You said your store attracts a progressive clientele, which might make wearing a Greens T-shirt OK, but then you do have to think about whether this will be seen as an endorsement of the party.

I would maybe have a word with your staff member and let them know that while you don’t personally have a problem with the T-shirt, it might not be entirely appropriate to be pushing a particular political line in the store.

Again, you have to work out how comfortable you are with this. Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily hurt your business to literally wear your political allegiances.

Be Smart

Your Aunty B


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