For our brothers everywhere fighting a no beard policy at work, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to win over management.
In this article:
- Play It Cool While Raising The Issue
- Do Your Legal Research
- Break Negative Images of Bearded Men
- Groom and Keep Your Beard Clean
- Talk About Beards Being Acceptable Now
- Start a Group
- Rally the People Behind Your Cause
7 Ways You Can Change A No Beard Policy At Work
1. Play It Cool While Raising The Issue
It’s important to realize the chips may be stacked against you even before you enter your manager’s room.
Be calm and collected while presenting your case.
Raising your points against a no beard policy and turning it into a topic of conversation in your office is a small win. Take every small win you get until you can change perceptions in your workplace about beards.
2. Do Your Legal Research
The No Beard Policies in applicable law exempt men from the rule for religious and medical reasons. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules that businesses should allow their workers to practice their religious beliefs and carry out their practices. Muslims and Sikhs, for example, receive this exemption.
Businesses also allow men to keep their beards for medical reasons, too. Some people, for example, develop skin conditions and allergies after shaving.
A lot of men across various states have tried raising the right to freedom of expression as an argument in court. All of them failed because the right to grow a beard is not a right protected by the federal government, and because a beard is something men can easily change by shaving—unlike skin color or one’s sex.
Federal Government Definition: A system that divides the country’s power between the small local governments and the national government; may also pertain to the central/national government
The bottom line is you won’t be able to lawyer your way out of a no beard policy. But please, don’t pretend to be something you’re not just to rock a beard—there’s nothing acceptable about appropriating a religion or culture just so you can skip shaving in the morning.
3. Break Negative Images of Bearded Men
Watch any action flick on Netflix, and chances are you’ll see hordes of bearded men firing automatic rifles at the good guy.
Yes, society attaches a lot of connotations to a beard and wearing one could box you into a negative stereotype.
One of the best things you can do to fight a no beard policy is to change the perception of people around you of men with beards.
Be aware of these stereotypes and differentiate yourself at every turn by being the good guy. One way or another, things will change for the better.
4. Groom and Keep Your Beard Clean
A news report that came out of New Mexico stated that a beard contains as much fecal matter as a toilet. Several sites, like IFLScience, had proven the claim false, but the damage has already been done.
You get the drift of what bearded men are fighting against, and it’s definitely bigger than a no beard policy.
5. Talk About Beards Being Acceptable Now
You can raise a point about society’s changing views when bringing up the no beard policy with your boss. GQ surveyed 500 barbers in 2015 about how many of their customers sport beards, and they peg it at 35%.
This figure may have increased as it has in Britain. From 2011 to 2015, the number of British men with beards rose to 42% from 37%.
Many other societies are also opening up to men sporting beards at work. Recently, two subway train drivers working in Osaka won a court case against the municipal government for the right to wear beards and for giving them low scores in work reviews due to their beards.
You can also note how there are a lot of social trends around the beard like Movember with over 5 million participants worldwide.
6. Start a Group
You don’t have to fight the battle alone. One of the best things you can do while seeking a change in work policy is to form a support group.
A beard support group will give you several benefits. It will help you pool your ideas with other men on how to work towards a more open policy about keeping a beard at work and give you a network who will stand with you.
It will also give you a badass new social circle to hang out with.
7. Rally the People Behind Your Cause
In September 2018, Publix, a supermarket chain in Florida, changed their grooming policy to allow facial hair after their workers took the battle to the court of public opinion. The workers uploaded a petition about changing the company’s no beard policy on Coworker.Org and amassed around 20,000 signatures.
This goes to show that when you gather the numbers, businesses listen. You can start your own petition on sites like Change.org if management isn’t willing to give way.
Don’t expect that you’ll win the war for the beard right away. It took the men at Publix around three years before the company changed its policy.
Know why beards should be acceptable in the workplace in this video by Dan C Bearded:
A beard has been a natural part of mankind since the very beginning, and a no beard policy is just a new rule set by older generations of conservative folk. Beards are the stuff of eternity and one way or another, we’ll win the conversation on beards wherever we may work.
Do you also have a no beard policy at work? How do you cope? Give us your answers in the comments section below.