Indian man says he was turned away from bank for wearing shorts

·3-min read
 (AP)
(AP)

An Indian man’s brush with a public sector bank for wearing shorts to one of its branches ended amicably after online outrage and reassurance that there was no dress code for customers.

The man, identified by his first name Ashish on his Twitter account, said earlier this week he was denied entry at a State Bank of India (SBI) branch in the eastern city of Kolkata for wearing shorts.

In a tweet directed at the official SBI Twitter account, he said: “Hey @TheOfficialSBI went to one of your branch today wearing shorts, was told that I need to come back wearing full pants as the branch expects customers to ‘maintain decency’.”

He added: “Is there some sort of an official policy on what a customer can wear and cannot wear?”

He also posted the link to a news story from 2017 that claimed a customer in the western city of Pune was also denied entry to an SBI outlet for wearing Bermuda shorts. “Apparently, I am not the only one who has faced this similar incident,” he said.

The bank’s official account responded with the assurance that no customer is discriminated against for their dressing choice.

“We understand and respect your concern. Let us take an opportunity to clarify that there is no policy or prescribed dress code for our customers. They can dress up as per their choice and may consider the locally acceptable norms/tradition/culture for a public place like,” the bank’s official account tweeted.

Ashish’s tweet drew responses from other customers who claimed they were denied entry for the same reason. Twitter user Ravinder Singh wrote the “same thing” happened to him in August last year.

Some users also slammed this “moral policing” by banks. In 2018 the State Bank of India asked its employees to follow a dress code, and grooming and etiquette guidelines.

In a circular issued on 6 January 2018, the bank said: “In order to ensure that an acceptable level of decorum in the workplace is maintained, all employees should adhere to a model dress code.”

Men employees were asked to dress in “smart formals” and women were “advised” to come in formal Indian or western dresses. At that time, the bank had a staff strength of 269,000 and over 24,000 branches.

The circular also asked employees to avoid an “unkempt look” and “practice adequate personal hygiene to keep bad breath and body odour away,” the Indian Express newspaper reported.

Ashish’s matter, however, seemed to have been settled amicably as he tweeted on Saturday that officials from the bank met him at his home to “take care of the issue.”

“I would like to close this complaint and do not want any action against the staff,” he said.

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