What to do if I dyed my hair and was forced to buy and wear a work hat?

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What to do if I dyed my hair and was forced to buy and wear a work hat?

I was told that it was against the handbook but the company doesn’t follow all the rules in the handbook to a tee. There also is another employee that has their hair dyed. Can I sue them for discrimination?

Asked on January 14, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From the limited facts as presented, you probably cannot sue your employer for discrimination. It does not appear that your treatment violated any laws. Contrary to popular belief, employees do not have to be treated equally or even fairly. It is perfectly permissible from a legal standpoint to give one employee more favorable treatment than another. This is true so long as such treatment does not violate company policy, a union agreement or employment contract. Further, differing treatment must not be the result of actionable discrimination. For example, if you were given less favorable treatment due to your status in a legally protected class (one based on sex, gender, race, religion and the like), that would be illegal. The fact is that an employer can dictate an employee's appearance.

That having been said, if your employer has not followed company policy to a "tee" and has a repeated pattern of doing this, you may have a claim but you did not give enough facts to make such a determination.


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