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Kara v. United Kingdom, dec., No. 36528/97, ECommHR (First Chamber), 22 October 1998


The prohibition imposed by the public employer on its employee to dress in other gender’s clothes does not breach the right to respect for one's private life pursuant to art. 8 of the ECHR and does not carry out a discrimination on the ground of sex pursuant to Article 14 of the ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 8 ECHR
Art. 14 ECHR


1. Constraints imposed on a person's choice of mode of dress constitute an interference with the private life as ensured by Article 8 para. 1 of the Convention. Nevertheless, as long as a dress code enable the public employer to enhance its image in its dealings with the public, the business community and representatives of Government, the interference could be said to pursue the legitimate aim of "the protection of the rights of others", as enunciated in paragraph 2 of article 8, in the sense of protecting its own proper functioning and carrying out of its duties on behalf of the public. On the other hand, the requirement that employees dress "appropriately" to their gender, may be reasonably regarded by the employer as necessary to safeguard their public image, and, therefore, proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. 

2. As long as the employer policy of requiring appropriate dress is applied to both genders,  there is no appearance of discrimination on the ground of sex.