Can an employer say only management is allowed to grow facial hair?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer say only management is allowed to grow facial hair?

Is an employer allowed to say or have rules set for management only, allowed to grow facial hair? My employer has the rules set right now that everyone males have to shave. The employer wants to allow management only to have facial hair. Reason is because everyone that’s not management is so young they can’t grow any or it doesn’t grow in very well.

Asked on June 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit, including how employees are to groom themselves. This is known as "at will" employment. The exceptions would be if this action violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. Also, such action must not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination. So, for example, if an employee needs to have facial hair for religious reasons or due to a medical conditon, they may have protection. Otherwise, not all employees need be treated the same.

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