A judge in the German city of Cologne has ruled that company bosses are within their rights to order female employees to wear white or skin-colored bras, keep their fingernails trimmed and appear at work with their hair clean and groomed.
The State Labour Court of North Rhine-Westphalia was adjudicating on a case involving the dress and grooming habits of airport security staff who had complained that their employer's dress rules were too restrictive.
The court ruled that "being told to wear a bra and to keep fingernails to shorter than half-a-centimetre does not impinge on personal rights" and "is not a disproportionate impairment of personal rights."
The ruling will apply to all workplaces in the most populous state in Germany.
But while the court also upheld the company's right to demand that men with beards keep them well trimmed, it ruled that it cannot ban specific shades of hair color or nail polish – or wigs.