Is it legal for a business to discriminate and make me shave my beard?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for a business to discriminate and make me shave my beard?

I am muslim. Ive been a practicing muslim on and off
since 2010. I live in Colorado and I work at
McDonalds. When McDonalds hired me, it never
was an issue about my beard. 2wks after hiring me,
Im told to shave my beard if I want my job.

I battled with this because I am muslim and the
shaving of the beard goes against my beliefs. Im 23
and am still having a hard time spiritually,
emotionally, mentally.

I feel like what they are doing is wrong. Please help.
Thank you.

Asked on November 13, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Once it has been made aware that a religious "accomodation" is needed, under federal law, an employer is required to accomodate a worker whose religious belief conflicts with a work requirement unless doing so would pose an "undue hardship" on the employer. Accordingly, when a company's dress and grooming policy conflicts with an employee's genuine religious practices, than the empoyer must make an exception to allow the religious pratice unless that would be an "undue hardship" on the operation of the business. In your case, it is not clear as to why you are now being requried to shave your beard. If it for a reason that can be worked around, then an accomodation must be made. However, if it for a reason that cannot be deal with any other way, then you will need to shave. At this point, you can consult directly with a local employment law attorney for further advise as to your specific situation. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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