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Employer forced me to shave today at work. Company has no facial hair policy. 3 other employees were allowed to work with beards

Napa, CA |

I work for a catering company and today one of the managers forced me to shave or I couldn't work, so I complied. After returning from the restroom an hour later from clotting the cuts on my face from the cheap razor they supplied me, I noticed 3 other employees had facial hair ranging from a Goatee, Mustache, and a Chinstrap. None were asked to shave or forced to shave to work that day. The company has a no facial hair policy in a documented PDF file which I have. Is this legal?

I also took pictures of the 3 other employees and their facial hair as proof they were working that day. Pictures are date/time stamped. The only explanation offered was that it is company policy. When I mentioned that other males had facial hair as well, the manager walked off and ignored my inquiry as to why I was the only one forced to shave. This particular manager also had multiple conversations with other employees (face to face contact) who had facial hair, while in my presence, and when I asked those particular workers at the end of our shift if this particular manager had made any mention to shave to them, they replied with a No.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Employers may legally impose grooming policies. How they implement the policy may depend on a variety of considerations, such as the length of the hair, the nature of the job the employee does, the customer they serve, etc. What they cannot do is treat people differently because of race, nationality, or some other improper consideration. You do not provide any information that would indicate unlawful discrimination other than that other employees have some form of facial hair. Have you asked why you have to shave and not other men? Was an explanation offered? More information is needed before anyone can form an opinion whether making you shave violates any right you may have.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.

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Posted

The only explanation offered was that it is company policy. When I mentioned that other males had facial hair as well, the manager walked off and ignored my inquiry as to why I was the only one forced to shave. This particular manager also had multiple conversations with other employees (face to face contact) who had facial hair, while in my presence, and when I asked those particular workers at the end of our shift if this particular manager had made any mention to shave to them, they replied with a No.

Michael Robert Kirschbaum

Michael Robert Kirschbaum

Posted

Sounds like your manager does not like you. But this is no basis for a legal action. Now you know to watch your back and buy better blades. If you wish to grow a beard (as you can see, something I'm quite fond of), you may need to find a new line of work or another employer.

Posted

Your manager doesn't seem to be exhibiting good leadership. If the rule is being applied inconsistently, then he should be able to tell you why. However, as a general rule, bad leadership is not illegal, except for the situations that Mr. Kirschbaum aptly described. Good luck.

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