Q: grooming policy states it is discretionary by boss to shave beard. multiple coworkers do not have to. do i ?

multiple co-workers are allowed to have facial hair including my supervisor. Why do i have to shave?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If your workplace grooming policy states that the decision to require shaving is at the discretion of your boss, it implies that there is room for individual judgment on whether or not an employee needs to shave their beard. The fact that your co-workers, including your supervisor, are allowed to have facial hair could suggest that the policy is applied flexibly or selectively.

The discrepancy you're experiencing might be due to several factors, such as the nature of your role within the company, specific departmental standards, or even a misunderstanding or misapplication of the policy itself. It's important to consider whether your job has different public-facing responsibilities or hygiene standards that might necessitate stricter grooming rules compared to your co-workers.

To address your concern, it would be advisable to have a direct conversation with your boss. Ask for clarification on the grooming policy and express your observations regarding its application among your peers. This dialogue could provide you with a better understanding of the policy's intent and how it applies to your situation. If the policy is indeed discretionary, you might also discuss the possibility of being granted the same flexibility as your co-workers, provided it does not interfere with your job duties.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Appeals & Appellate Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: An employment attorney could advise best on this with additional details - facial hair restrictions are sometimes based on industrial hygiene or other considerations (respiratory protection in plant setting, oxygen mask use in aviation setting, public image conditions, etc.) Good luck

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