- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Short skirts and revealing shirts are among the garments Kansas Department of Revenue employees are barred from wearing under a new dress code.

Revenue Secretary Sam Williams, appointed in December by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, authorized implementation of the rules Monday that prohibit employees who meet face-to-face with customers from exposing people to “obscene or offensive tattoos or facial or body piercings,” The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/2prAqs1 ) reports. The policy also stipulates clothing with a deep neckline may be worn only with a “non-revealing shirt underneath.”

Dress and skirt hems more than 3 inches above the knee are banned, as is clothing that reveals undergarments or the wearer’s anatomy. No one in the department may wear jeans, T-shirts, hats or athletic shoes at the office without special permission.

Those sent home “to correct poor attire choices” will be required to use annual leave or be docked salary for time away from the office, according to the agency policy distributed about a week ago.

Agency spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said the goal is to “present a professional image” to customers.

But Democratic Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said it’s “over-the-top.” And Rep. Sydney Carlin, a Manhattan Democrat, recommended the revenue department provide employees a wardrobe allowance - perhaps $400 per person - to ease the mandate’s financial burden.

“It is typical of the attitude we’re seeing right now about women. It’s gone backwards,” Carlin said. “All of us do better when we feel better about the way we look.”

The Revenue Department’s dress code isn’t the first to garner attention. Last year, a Kansas Senate committee chairman dropped a dress code that would have prohibited women testifying on elections or ethics bills from wearing low-cut necklines and miniskirts after a bipartisan group of women legislators complained. In 2014, Republican Rep. Peggy Mast, of Emporia, drew First Amendment complaints after suggesting dress code changes for interns.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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