If I cover my facial hair and am getting disciplined while other employees are not covering theirs and are not recieving any disciplinary action, is this discrimination?

I feel I am being singled out.

Asked on September 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Contrary to popular belief, an employer may single out an employee or treat him differently than others--there is no legal requirement to treat all employees the same. What there is, however, is a restriction on discriminating based on a specifically protected characteristic, such as a person's race, religion, age over 40, disability, or sex. If you feel you are being treated differently due to a characteristic such as one of these, you may have a discrimination claim and should speak with an employment lawyer. So, for example: say that all the employees but you are white--you are are the only African American, for example. If the white employees can have facial hair but you can't, that might be discrimination. But if you are all or mostly all the same race and the employer is simply treating you differently because it doesn't like how your beard looks, that is legal.


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