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So my office requires for men to be at the office with a tie, formal shirt and suit but women can wear mostly anything, only with the restriction of no excessive cleavage. Women are always freezing in the AC, even though some of the men are sweating. Most of the women don't bring a jacket or just are still cold because they just dress not properly for an office where the AC is at a temperature that is comfortable in a suit and tie.

The boss or head of my office is a woman and mostly agrees with the other women. She is constantly turning the AC off to please them, and it makes us sweat or be hot. She doesn't ask our opinion, just theirs. How can I approach this situation? HR is also a woman and very good friends with the boss.

marked as duplicate by Masked Man, gnat, David K, BrianH, Xavier J Jan 3 '17 at 18:20

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  • Is your question around the Air conditioning comfort levels or around (what you are claiming to be) sexist mis-treatment of male employees in your organisation ? You should look at editing your question to clarify that – the_reluctant_tester Jan 3 '17 at 0:36
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    Would you be ok with a change to your dress code? If you remove your jacket and tie and loosen the neck of your shirt, and weren't reprimanded, would that be a good resolution to your problem? Or do you demand a certain max temperature? Or is this not even about physical comfort but more about whether your feel like you matter in this office? – Kate Gregory Jan 3 '17 at 0:49
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    For what its worth, this does not come across as anti-female to me at all. The dress code of the company simply need to be updated to a more modern standard. Easier said than done for the person asking the question. – Mister Positive Jan 3 '17 at 15:31
  • This question has been answered so many times in so many places here. Even the linked 'possible duplicate of...' is a duplicate. Voting to close. – Ethan The Brave Jan 3 '17 at 16:41
  • It sucks to think you're taken less seriously because of your gender. You deal with that at work, but consider that women have to deal with that everywhere. – The Muffin Man Jan 3 '17 at 17:08
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About the AC: The same issue happened in Scandinavia 2 or 3 years ago: Male coworker complain they were sweating because of hot temperature and the obligation to wear uniform long pant whereas they wanted to wear short pant. Female coworker were at this time allowed to wear dress.

Management refused to listen to the male coworker stating that the long pant was part of the job. Male coworker decided to wear skirt to protest. Management couldn't forbid them to wear the dress otherwise they could be subject to court claim about gender inequality. So in the end the mangement changed the rules and male can now wear short pants.

The example is kind of extreme and should only be used when ALL negociations fails.

What you and you male coworker do need to do ( in order of importance) :

  • make a meeting with all the female coworker to officially talk about the situation and try to find a solution ( the company can provide a vest to the female coworker if they are cold, change the desk so female are regroup in 1 part of the office, males in an other part so it is more easy to set 2 differents tempeature)

  • ask to formal meeting with your bosss to adress the issue and prepare some solution like giving a vest to all female so they are not cold.

  • write an open letter with a signature of everybody and give it to your boss and upper management.

  • contact the local union to know if there is a solution

If all the above fail, you can try the following ( but there is risk to get bad reputation/ blame/ fired). - change set temperature all the time so it will force your boss to adress the issue. - come to work in short pant and short shirt ( but it should be all the male to do it, not only you).

Regarding the law, of course it depend on the contry, but there is usually only a limit of the "acceptable for health" temperature like 35 degree celcius in the office, there is no "confortable".

In all the discussion and meeting you should ONLY talk about the AC issue, don't talk about other things ( like you boss being only good toward woman) otherwise it would like you want to get revenge on your boss and not solve this issue.

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You are at a loss here and it is forcing you and likely others to work in an un-ideal environment that is unfair to your needs as a person. If possible, talk to HR about it and BE NICE about it. Some people go off the rails when they feel threatened, so be as polite as possible about your concerns. Being nice has always worked for me as it keeps them calm, it stops people from feeling like they are being attacked.

If no recourse can be found there, then I really do recommend you hand in your resignation if you have opportunities elsewhere. A company that cannot properly assist ALL of its employees reasonably is not a company that you are obligated to work under. They cannot be forced to fix this so the only leverage you have is: you. Even if they don't cooperate, at least you can move to somewhere that will take your needs seriously at the same level of your co-workers.

But of course don't resign or cause a stir if this is not desired. If you're willing to tolerate it, by all means... as long as it isn't detrimental to other things, you are free to stay. I don't want to encourage you to resign or seriously complain (that could cause your boss or HR to dislike you) if it isn't worth it to you. I will however continue with my suggestion to move forward given there are opportunities elsewhere. If you have another position lined up, then by all means!

But my suggestion still stands, if you will bring the issue to light, be courteous to avoid any unwanted tension.

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