Monday, 21 May 2012

Day 18: Implement Modest Dress at the Workplace

Part 1/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Miller, Rabbi Zvi (See all authors)

In my company, men and women work together all the time. Even though I own the company, I feel reluctant to impose my religious dress standards on my employees. Is there something I can do to encourage proper attire?

"Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, 'Who is this woman?'" (Ruth 2:5)

"Boaz noticed that Ruth conducted herself with unusual modesty. She sat while gathering the sheaves on the ground so she would not have to bend and expose her legs." (Rashi)

It appears that even in ancient times, men and women working in close proximity resulted in tzniut issues. The Book of Ruth is set in Israel during the time of the Judges, when one would expect that such problems would not exist.

Yet Ruth's modest behavior apparently was so unusual that Boaz recognized her spiritual nobility.

Today, society condones far greater latitude in clothing, creating issues that never would have arisen even a few decades ago. Can anything be done about it on an organizational level?

In many ways, the owner of a company is like a father figure to his employees. He provides them with an occupation so they can earn an honest livelihood. He understands that the better he treats his employees, the better they will fulfill their tasks. In the larger firms, the company provides health care packages, pension plans, and other benefits.

If you are an employer or a person of rank in your company, you serve as a role model, setting the standards for business ethics and personal integrity.

To create a healthy environment in your workplace you naturally encourage teamwork and good interpersonal relations. In this light, you surely want your office to be free of inappropriate conduct.