Can a employer tell me how to style my hair?

I was told all of a sudden that I need to wear my hair differently. However, I have wore my hair

the same way the whole 6 years I have worked there. I feel that I’m being singled out because a

few other employees wear there hair similar to the way in which I currently wear mine.

Asked on June 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you feel that you are being discriminated against, then you may have a claim. However, your differing treatment must be based on your race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), disability, gender or the like. Otherwise, there is no legal requirement that all employees be treated the same. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit; this includes most rules and regulations regarding grooming and dress. That is unless such action violates the terms of a union agreement, employment contract or company policy.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is legal. Employers are allowed to tell employees how to dress and how to groom, which includes how to style their hair, while at work. They do not need to justify "why"; they have free discretion to do this, and may terminate employees who do not comply.

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