May an employer require an employee to change his or her hairstyle if the employer considers it to be too unconventional?
Author: William Denham, Shortt & Nguyen, PC
Yes. An employer may adopt appearance and grooming policies that, for reasons of health or safety or for a desired public image, require employees to maintain conventional hairstyles. Any appearance or grooming policies should be stated in the employee handbook and enforced uniformly. However, an employer must be careful that an appearance and grooming policy does not impose a greater burden on one gender than the other. Further, an employer should be careful about discrimination and sex stereotyping claims. An employer may need to make reasonable accommodations based upon an employee's religion, national origin or disability under federal law, or sexual orientation or gender identity under state law.