Grooming policies: Establish limits, not discrimination — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Grooming policies: Establish limits, not discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Frank's boss asked him to quit wearing his earring to work. Frank refused, arguing that women in the office were allowed to wear earrings. He was fired and then sued for sex discrimination. (Kleinsorge v. Eyeland Corp., No. 99-5025, E.D. Pa., 2000)

Brian and his buddies at work protested Blockbuster's new grooming policy that prohibited men, but not women, from having long hair. They refused to cut their locks, so Blockbuster cut 'em loose. They also sued. (Harper v. Blockbuster, No. 97-4364, 11th Cir., 1998)

The result of both cases: wins for the employer. That's because courts have set a clear rule on grooming policies: You can establish different grooming and dress requirements for men and women as long as your rules are enforced evenly.

As the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has noted, "minor differences in personal appearance regulations that reflect customary modes of grooming do not constitute sex discr...(register to read more)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Whelan Easley March 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I am a college student who recently took a job at jack in the box so I could have a little extra income outside of my student loans. During my computer based training, I signed a corporate document that said non dangling earrings, neatly shaven beards, and tattoos that didn’t prove offensive were allowed. I have all three that meet the requirements. Afterwards I was told that this is a franchise store and that I would have to remove my ear plugs, wear a long sleeve shirt covering up my Oregon and hammer tattoo, and shave off my ‘soul patch’. I was given nothing to sign prior to employment other than the corporate policy clearly stating that my earrings, tattoos and soul patch were all within policies regulations. Can this franchise impose rules that contradict agreements I signed as part of my employment?


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