If my employer wants me to shave my beard to I have too?

I don’t want too. The policy requires that beards be neatly trimmed but they want me to shave it all off. Do I have to comply?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

An employer is free to change its mind as to the conditions of the workplace and to impose new regulations and terms of employment much as it sees fit; updating company policy regarding the dress code would be such an example. For your part you can choose to shave or be fired (or quit). This is what is known as "at will" employment.

The above holds true unless you have an employment contract or union agreement that forbids your being termiated for something such as this. Additionally, if your treatment will be the result of actionable discrimination, it would be illegal. In other words, there can be no discrimination in employment based on an employees inclusion in a protected class based on such factors as: race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin (however having a beard does not put you in such a class).

Bottom line, a business has the right to put forth the company image that it wants. Seemingly unfair or not, it's the law.

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