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Can a workplace tell you that if you do not shave your face everyday you will be written up or fired?

Boston, MA |

My husband is a building engineer (essentially a maintenance man) and has been working at his place of employment for almost 7 years. He normally keeps a well groomed goatee, but yesterday was informed if he is even to have a "5 o clock shadow" he will be written up and/or terminated. They are essentially forcing him to shave his face every day. Is this legal? Thank you for any insight you may be able to provide.

I also thought I should include the fact that he is allowed to keep the goatee. He must shave his cheek areas, as they say that they permit a goatee or mustache but no beard so I am completely confused on this issue. I think I would respect the decision more if it were a "completely clean shaven or no job" kind of thing. This woman, the general building manager, has been on the job for over a year now and this is the first time any of this has come up, and there is nothing in the handbook regarding this. Thanks for any insight you may be able to give!

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Filed under: Employment
Attorney answers 1


Generally, as long as a grooming or dress requirement is not demeaning or discriminatory, the courts will not interfere with an employer's grooming requirement. If female employees are not subject to comparable neatness requirements, your husband may have a cause of action, but otherwise, it is something he will likely have to tolerate if he wants to keep the job. I hope this helps.

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