Case 40 - Enquirer told they could not wear sunglasses at work for health and safety reasons


A doctor has advised the enquirer to wear sunglasses when it is sunny as this affects his eyes. Where the enquirer works is a building where the roof is 70% glass and this becomes very uncomfortable to work in when it is a sunny day. The doctor has provided the enquirer with a note for his employer explaining the reasons for wearing sunglasses. When the doctor's note was given to the employer they said that "under health and safety he is not allowed to wear sunglasses at work".

Panel decision

There are no HSE regulations that prevent employees from wearing sunglasses indoors. On the evidence presented the decision to ban sunglasses, which have been advised on medical grounds, is not reasonable and is more likely to be a convenient excuse – to avoid setting a precedent or developing an HR policy on dress code.