UPS Accused of Beard Discrimination

Gentleman, the government is actively working in our best interest. No, they aren’t doing anything about the unemployment rate. Or the national debt. And they aren’t forcibly cancelling The Voice. But they are suing UPS over their dress code policy that bans delivery drivers from growing beards. Huzzah!

The New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that the federal government slapped a lawsuit on UPS for violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee for their religious beliefs. The UPS dress code currently prohibits delivery drivers from having any facial hair below the lip, and from growing hair below the shirt collar. Which makes perfect logical sense, because when the UPS guy puts my delivery down in front of my door, rings my doorbell, and walks back to his truck – all while I crouch down and pretend I’m not home so he doesn’t see me in my boxers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt – I might be less inclined to trust his parcel delivery skills if he wasn’t completely shaven.

According to the report, the suit was filed in the Brooklyn Federal Court after several Muslim and Rastafarian employees came forward saying that UPS barred them from having beards or dreadlocks, even though it was in accordance with their religion. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a Rastafarian supervisor who sported dreadlocks was approached by his manager, who claimed he “did not want employees looking like women” on his team.


Dreadlock and beard discrimination aside, is anyone going to address the glaring misogynistic undertones of that statement? Maybe the government should add an addendum that prohibits UPS from hiring idiots and letting them be in charge of stuff.

The New York Daily News report goes on to say that a Muslim customer service representative in Brooklyn was told to “shave his beard, or be fired” and had to get a certificate from his imam proving that his beard was part of his spiritual observance. Nine months later UPS granted him an accommodation.

The most curious part of the whole situation is that this dress code policy only applies to employees who are interacting with the public – employees working in other areas of UPS aren’t required to follow these same dress code policies. This seems to indicate that UPS falls right in line with so many companies that retain antiquated dress code policies that seem to give the impression that professionalism is tied primarily to a certain appearance, and actual conduct and service is somehow secondary.

What can brown do for me? Let there be beards!


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