Zniut and Work Clothes

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Good evening!

I regularly wear only skirts and outside the home, I always have a hat or other head covering. Since I’m also working as a junior doctor in a hospital (western Europe), at work I have to comply with the work clothes that the hospital provides. There is a set of different options, none of them really fulfilling my tzeniut standards (however they would fulfill the tzeniut standards of our tiny Jewish community).

Are there halachic grounds to wear work-trousers (e.g. in emergency/shock rooms, not in an outpatient setting)?

What about head covering? I tried, with the exception of a wig, pretty much all sizes (full/half cover, etc.) but don’t feel comfortable with it in the work setting at all. Is there halachic room to allow bare-headedness (with hair just bound together) in a work setting?

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Asked on January 18, 2022 5:31 pm
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Private answer

Thank you for reaching out to us!

It is widely accepted for religiously-observant medical professionals to wear scrub trousers as needed, so long as they are relatively baggy and not form fitting. (See our discussion of women wearing trousers here.)

We’re not sure that we fully understand the nature of your concerns about head-covering. Here are some initial thoughts:

Scrub hats are often widely accepted in a hospital setting, and can be an effective solution for medical professionals. Doing a little search on google of “scrub hats” or”scrub caps” turns up a wider range of colors and styles that maintain a professional medical image. Additionally, many women wear wigs professionally, even when they are not their preferred head-covering elsewhere. (Sometimes seeking out less expensive wigs because they are for limited use.) We are not aware of a halachic ruling for a married woman to remove her head-covering specifically in a professional setting when other options are available.

We hope this was helpful. We invite you to write back with more details about what’s been troubling you, so that we can help you find a solution that works well for you.

Thank you to Dr. Bat-Sheva Maslow for her insights into these questions.

See more Q&A here.

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Answered on January 18, 2022 5:35 pm