Is it discrimination that males with hair below the top of their collar are fired but women are not.
4 attorney answers
You must be a Teen. You can decide whether you would rather have a sweet pony-tail or a sweet job. If you want both, join a Band. If you want the steady paycheck, cut the hair. Men don't have to wear bras to avoid termination, and half your female colleagues would probably prefer the air circulation. Man up and realize that the world does not revolve around you.
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Is it considered discrimination? No, under general principles of law. Is it something you could bring a lawsuit about? No, under general principles of law.
Employers are generally free to prescribe policies for how they want their employees to look and dress. An at-will employee gets up in the morning and decides every day whether or not to spend the hours of his valuable life doing drudgery in exchange for employer's paycheck. You may decide life is too short for you to keep exchanging your precious life for this employer's paycheck. If you want to wear your hair long, you are absolutely free to find an employer who doesn't particularly care if you wear your hair long or not.
Not legal advice as I don't practice law in Georgia. It's just my two cents on the facts you describe in light of general principles of law. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds Georgia licensure, i.e., someone other than me.
Good luck in your job search.
As this is a public forum, I have tried to remain impartial and not judgmental as regards my colleagues. The answer above, however, is an invitation to a brawl. Mr. Corson is why I practice law - I take on such bullies without mercy. He does not represent the typical plaintiff's or even defendant's employment discrimination lawyer. He is a disgrace.
Title VII (Federal Law) DOES prohibit discrimination because of sex. If you have evidence (recordings, other witnesses, photos, etc) which substantiates your claim of discrimination, I recommend you see a local attorney and/or the Local EEOC or discrimination-related agency in your State.
On the surface, if the hair length requirement is not job-related, you may be able to prove systematic discrimination if you produce other evidence - such as some secret memo which states that they prefer females because they attract more customers - or some witness testimony who overhead management discuss ways to weed out males at your job.
Please disregard the "man" above - again he is a disgrace to person-hood. Please do seek local counsel to better advise you.
I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
Under federal law, I see two possible claims. One is based on sex, as Mr. Perez discusses. Sadly, despite the Price Waterhouse case, many courts still permit an employer to enforce different grooming standards for men and women. Here is an article on exactly this discussion: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/grossman/20090303.html
Another possibility is religious discrimination and/or accommodation. I'm not sure if your spiritual vigil is equivalent to a religious vigil. The EEOC Compliance Manual on religious discrimination includes: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/religion.html#_Toc203359488
"2. Sincerely Held
"Title VII requires employers to accommodate only those religious beliefs that are “sincerely held.” Therefore, whether or not a religious belief is “sincerely held” by an applicant or employee is only relevant to religious accommodation, not to claims of disparate treatment or harassment because of religion. In those claims, it is the motivation of the discriminating official, not the actual beliefs of the individual alleging discrimination, that are typically relevant in determining if the discrimination that occurred was because of religion. A detailed discussion of reasonable accommodation of sincerely held religious beliefs appears in § IV, but the meaning of “sincerely held” is addressed here.
"Like the “religious” nature of a belief or practice, the “sincerity” of an employee’s stated religious belief is usually not in dispute. Nevertheless, there are some circumstances in which an employer may assert as a defense that it was not required to provide accommodation because the employee’s asserted religious belief was not sincerely held. Factors that — either alone or in combination — might undermine an employee’s assertion that he sincerely holds the religious belief at issue include: whether the employee has behaved in a manner markedly inconsistent with the professed belief; whether the accommodation sought is a particularly desirable benefit that is likely to be sought for secular reasons; whether the timing of the request renders it suspect (e.g., it follows an earlier request by the employee for the same benefit for secular reasons); and whether the employer otherwise has reason to believe the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons. However, none of these factors is dispositive. For example, although prior inconsistent conduct is relevant to the question of sincerity, an individual’s beliefs — or degree of adherence — may change over time, and therefore an employee’s newly adopted or inconsistently observed religious practice may nevertheless be sincerely held. An employer also should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of his or her practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of his or her religion.
"3. Employer Inquiries into Religious Nature or Sincerity of Belief
"Because the definition of religion is broad and protects beliefs and practices with which the employer may be unfamiliar, the employer should ordinarily assume that an employee’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincerely-held religious belief. If, however, an employee requests religious accommodation, and an employer has an objective basis for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular belief or practice, the employer would be justified in seeking additional supporting information. See infra § IV-A-2."
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