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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 18:41 GMT
Dress protest worker wears kilt
Dennis Fitzpatrick
Mr Fitzpatrick was given the kilt by his Scottish mother
A civil servant in Birmingham who was banned from wearing jeans in the office is coming to work in a kilt instead.

Dennis Fitzpatrick, who works at a Jobcentre Plus, claims a new dress code imposed by managers, requiring men to wear trousers, shirt and tie is discriminatory.

The 45-year-old has used his Scottish ancestry to take advantage of a rule which allows workers to wear national dress.

He received a written warning from the Employment Service after wearing black jeans in the office while his kilt was being cleaned.

'Professional image'

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said the dress code was introduced earlier this year at all 56 of the new Jobcentre Plus offices.

The new rules were designed to help "project a professional image".

But Mr Fitzpatrick, who works at the Ravenhurst benefits office in Birmingham, says he will fight the new dress code.

Ian Jarman
Ian Jarman is also challenging the dress code
He said: "I fully understand why management want staff who deal with the public to be smart, but 95% of the people who work here never meet the public.

"I spend all my time on the phone or at a computer.

"They seem happy for me to go to work in a kilt, lumberjack's shirt and pink tie - I think I look stupid.

"I can't believe they're wasting taxpayers money on something as pathetic as this."

He is now discussing with his union the possibility of legal action after being given a written warning on Tuesday.

Employment tribunal

He says the rules are discriminatory because they do not apply to women and are also unpopular because the dress code means extra expense on clothes.

Mr Fitzpatrick is the second employee at the same office to take action over the matter.

Earlier this month, Ian Jarman, a benefits fraud investigator, said he planned to take his bosses to an employment tribunal over the rules.

But the spokeswoman for Department for Work and Pensions said they had no intention of scrapping the dress code.

She said: "We believe that the introduction of a dress code is a key factor in how our customers view the services we provide."


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See also:

14 Oct 02 | England
05 Oct 99 | Business
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