Can a man be made to cut his hair if there are woman in the workplace with hair of the same length?

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Can a man be made to cut his hair if there are woman in the workplace with hair of the same length?

I have long hair that comes past my collar and other women that work in the same department do as well when it’s not pined up. I was told to cut mine and I said it doesn’t state it in the SOP that my hair have to be a certain length and they told me that I either have to cut it or I don’t have a job. Is this discrimination?

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is most likely legal. It is true that an employer may not discriminate on the basis of sex; however, at the same time, an employer may promulgate dress and apprearance/grooming codes. Those codes are based on societal and professional norms. The fact is, the dress and grooming standards for men and women are different--a hair length or style, for example, which is unexceptional in a woman may be unusual or unprofessioal looking in a man. (Same thing for earings and other jewlery--take law, for example: a female lawyer can wear earings in both ears, but a male lawyer would look unprofessional for doing so, except possibly in the field of entertainment law, where the cultural norms are somewhat different.) Therefore, since grooming, etc. standards are different for men and women, your employer most likely can tell you, but not the women, to cut your hair.


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