Hairstyle and grooming are a big issue in North America due to their connection with discrimination. In other countries especially in Asia, however, this is not the case as especially in the workplace where everyone must follow the company policy.
Many employers and businesses require specific head grooming for their employees for many reasons and one major is safety and hygiene. In this case, one’s look will always depend on the type of environment and company he/she is working with.
Although we value human rights, some topics sometimes like this are becoming overrated. Too much democracy sometimes is bad and the victim is always the employer.
Let me tell you a short story
Sometime in 2015, a 27-year old employee in a car manufacturing plant in Kansas City won an almost $200,000 case against his employer for discrimination because he was ordered to cut his beard and hair.
The company policy states that no one working with robots and automated machines should wear a long wig for safety reasons but the employee defied it and sued his company and won while keeping his job. The judge said it was his freedom. The company couldn’t fire him so he stayed and continued working.
Exactly 6 months later, he was involved in a serious work accident. His long hair was caught by a winding machine and 30% of his head was scalped. He asked the company to pay him in excess of his insurance and another legal battle ensued.
This time, the company’s argument was the employee did not follow safety standards and thus the company is not liable for the accident - which in fact true. As one of the most ridiculous cases in Kansas history, the case was rejected after the court reviewed the company policy and found out that the employee did not follow the safety protocols.
Guess what happened next? He subdued the judge who decided in favor of him on his first case. He said that if the judge did not make him win, he should have avoided the accident.
All of his charges were dismissed and the state considered reviewing the policies about head grooming in the workplace whether companies have the total rights to implement company policies or not. The man was eventually paid by the company and advised to retire as it is evident that if he stays, he’s going to make more trouble.
Does your workplace have a hairstyle and grooming policy?
There are many articles about head grooming discrimination but honestly, I can’t find a justifiable one. Sometimes, too much freedom and too much right affect our jobs for some nonsense reason. How difficult it is to follow when everyone else is doing it?
As mentioned above, there are many reasons why companies require grooming and head grooming so we can go to work neat, clean, and presentable. Your wig reflects wherever you work. You are one of the faces of your company or employer especially if you are in the customer service industry.
Food and beverage
Have you ever wondered why waiters and waitresses always wear hairnets and masks even without the Coronavirus pandemic? A single strand of wig when found sitting on the customer’s plate would be a big problem not only for the employee but also for the whole business especially in luxury diners, hotels, and restaurants.
Working in such an environment takes a lot of care and attention to detail and that includes the employee’s grooming, hygiene, sanitation, and of course, head grooming. If you are working in the food and beverage industry especially in bars and restaurants, you should be aware that these establishments have strict head grooming policies. Your rights would not work here so if you think you don’t want to change your head grooming, then this job is not for you.
If you are an aspiring flight attendant, you should know also that you can’t have hair that is free-flying. Although a short wig is preferred by most airlines, long hairs are allowed to provided its tied at the back or braided. A flight attendant’s wig hitting a passenger’s face is the worst thing that can happen when you are on the flight.
Should I need to explain why nurses and doctors in the operating room should cover their hair?
As I mentioned above in the story, this is always a problem. Hairnets are one of the most important PPE if you are working inside an assembly plant where robotic machines are moving left and right. Not only a specific short wig is required, jewelry and other dangling body and fashion accessories are also not permitted. Your bracelet caught by a pneumatic robot is the last thing you want to happen.
Of all these discrimination complaints about head grooming, why no one is complaining in the military? Of course, there is an exception if you are a Sheik or a member of any other religious organization that prohibits cutting of hair. But if you are just an ordinary service member without any complicated religious and social affinity, a military haircut is a must. This is standard and everyone should obey.
Beauty and wellness
Have you ever experienced having a massage while the therapist’s wig is touching your body? Or having a pedicure while eating the technician’s hair? Sounds awful right? Of course, if one is working in beauty and wellness, he/she should also follow a very specific policy and this includes holding her wig back or at least having it inside a hairnet.
No offense to other people but sometimes, discrimination can be overrated and exaggerated. If you don’t want to change your head grooming then don’t work for that company. Don’t force them to change their policy because you think you are being discriminated against, especially when their policy is already in place before you entered that company.
Different companies and businesses require different head grooming and implement different policies. Although there are many instances of discrimination, some of these happen because sometimes we don’t want to follow even a simple policy that leads to bigger issues.