Passengers on a train route in northern Stockholm were met with a bit of comic relief when they boarded their train Monday.: male conductors and drivers dressed in women’s skirts.
30-year old train driver Martin Akersten instigated the rather bizarre insurrection. Martin said he and a dozen or more of the guys at Roslagsbanan Line decided to wear skirts during the warm days of Sweden’s brief summer as a protest against the train company’s policy of not wearing shorts. The men wanted to opt for cooler garments when the temperatures soared but were forbidden to do so after the company changed ownership last year. The men stated shorts “were more breathable” in the summer than trousers.
Akersten commented that the response from commuters has been nothing but positive. Tomas Hedenius, a spokesman for Arriva, the company that manages the train line said they haven’t intervened. Hedenius stated, “the decision to a local newspaper, saying, “Our thinking is that one should look decent and proper when representing Arriva and the present uniforms do that. If the man only wants to wear a skirt then that is OK. To tell them to do something else would be discrimination. “With a begrudging smile, Hedeius is said to have stated he “didn’t rule out a change of the company’s uniform policy.”
United States Federal Laws Regarding Uniforms
According to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers in the United States can require employees to wear uniforms. Although the Act does not mandate uniforms, it allows employers to require them. If the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require uniforms, employers must pay for the uniforms. If not required by OSHA, employees can charge employees for their uniform costs. Employees who are required to purchase uniforms can deduct them as a business or cost of employment expense. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to pay for employee’s standard work clothing: the Act does however, require employers to pay for equipment and personal clothing required to comply with OSHA work safety standards.
In sports, uniforms help build pride in the team and aid in identifying the opposite team by the color and design of their uniforms.
So, if your employer wants you to dress up in a hot and heavy yellow chicken suit, wave down customers and pass out fliers, you’ve got to do or risk being sacked. If this or a similar situation should arise, it’s best to “just grin and bear it.” Unemployment in America remains at an alarming high: there are a lot of people out there who would be happy to “flap their wings” and “cluck” in exchange for a regular paycheck.
The Advantage Of Uniforms In The Workplace
Safety and Protection
The United States Department of Labor and OSHA have implemented special regulations for workers in specified industries. Many jobs require flame-retardant clothing. Workers in the medical and chemical industries may be required to wear protective clothing when exposed to toxic materials.
Customized uniforms allow customers to recognize employees. Custom uniforms project the company’s professional image.
For many workers, uniforms are a much less expensive option than wearing street clothes that are soiled or damaged in the environment of the work place. When uniforms are worn in the work place, employees do not have the cost of providing and maintaining a work wardrobe.
The Debate Over School Uniforms
Educational experts report uniforms in the classroom help to reduce the violence, bullying and the social difficulty many students experience as a result of social status. Because many families are unable to provide the latest “hip” fashions and name brand clothing other children may wear, fellow classmates often ostracize students because their clothing is old or not “cool”. Uniforms level the “playing field” and eliminate clothing as a point of friction between students. School uniforms remove the disciplinary problems of teachers trying to enforce a dress code: parents and students no longer have to question if a clothing item is too short, revealing or provocative.
Wearing uniforms in the classroom can lead to a safer school environment. When a school requires students to wear a uniform to class, gang apparel disappears from the school classroom. When clothing is regulated, educators find it is much more difficult for a student to conceal a gun or other weapon.
Debate.org reports in a random survey of students across the country, 54 percent were in favor of uniforms in the classroom: 46 percent were adamantly against the policy. Comments varied:
“Uniforms are a Positive Decision Uniforms being mandatory in all grade schooling would be a positive change. When students are able to pick and choose what they wear to school, there is too much room for discrimination and judgement between peers. A student who cannot afford to wear fashionable clothes could be ridiculed. A student who dresses provocatively will draw negative attention to themselves. A student who is heavier then other students may stand more without a uniform. Individual styles of clothing and self expression really has no place in schooling. Attention should be on academics and sports, not on how a person dresses.”
“Students are not your dogs to dress up! Students’ creativity and individuality will not only be masked by the uniforms. Financially, parents may not be able to buy multiple clothing of the same color. Also, if the school pays for the uniforms, they could be using that money to buy more educational things. Not worrying about people’s fashion! Additionally, the parents might have to go to a dry cleaner’s shop, so they would have to go there constantly and the costs would stack up! On another note, students can’t bully people about what they’re wearing. However, students bully each other over things that AREN’T their clothing all the time! No one cares what you wear unless someone brings their attention to it. Making kids dress up for adults won’t make the mean kids keep messing with the “weaker” ones! At most, they’ll get upset, so they bully more people to ventilate their anger. Uniforms are not the worst ideas, as they do have positives, but I really don’t think they’re necessary. Many schools work fine without them.”
“Decrease in bullying: people think you can’t really be you when you wear uniforms. It takes your individuality away. We need freedom. Yeah that might be true, but think about all the students in your school who don’t have the money you do so they can’t afford to go out and by a $100 pair of pants or a $50 shirt like you can, their parents can barely afford to put food on the table much less go out and buy some expensive clothes because clothes aren’t cheap. So they are wearing the same clothes they had last year and maybe a pair of shoes they have had for a couple years that are falling apart. So every day when they are getting ready for school they have to feel ashamed because they know once they get to school they are going to get bullied because they have old clothes on. They have to have that fear everyday as they walk in to school, “who is going to bully me today?” It’s not fair, and none of us think about that. Schools should start requiring uniforms.”
“Students should have freedom with their attire to express themselves. It isn’t fair to have to conform to a mini society within your school just to supposedly “fit in” Schools should just do their job right and promote and uphold a proper society of equality no matter what. If the schools successfully get that done, then the uniforms need becomes useless. We deserve the freedom to give the impression we want to give.”
By: Marlene Affeld