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Could a “No beard” policy be racially discriminatory?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2021 | Employment Law

Everyone desires to work in an environment where their work is appreciated and valued. Employment discrimination in Ohio robs some employees of these benefits. The law that governs discrimination in the workplace exists under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC.

Provisions of Title VII

Title VII exists under the EEOC. It prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, disability, age, genes, mental ability, physical ability, marital status, sexual orientation, residency, status or any other protected characteristic. The law covers government, public and even private employees. In the private sector, discrimination protection is in the state law, but various bodies want it included in Title VII. The federal law forbids employment discrimination in discipline measures, recruitment, salary, compensation, promotion, evaluations and training.

Additionally, Title VII covers discrimination against characteristics that are related to race, like their culture, accent and names. It includes qualities such as hair texture, skin color and certain facial features like beards. A policy ban that affects facial hair in a job setting discriminates against men in certain groups. For example, many African-American men are genetically affected by severe bumps caused by the shave of their beard, also called pseudo folliculitis barbae. If a person will not be employed, hired or trained by an organization because it has a no-beard policy, that might constitute discrimination. An exception to the facial hair ban may concern the kind of job or business, such as in the catering industry or food-related jobs.

Seeking legal help

If you face employment discrimination in any way, make sure you contact reliable legal assistance in the Ohio area. An attorney may guide you on how to follow up with human resources and how to defend yourself to your employer. Additionally, an attorney may help you understand what constitutes discrimination or a toxic work environment that you should leave.