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Can I Make My Employees Get a Haircut?

QUESTION
Can I require the male employees I manage to cut their hair? I’m not talking buzz cut—just something below shoulder length?
ANSWER
Probably not.
EXPLANATION
Personal grooming policies are allowed only in very limited situations. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about your situation to determine whether you could implement such a policy at your own organization—although the fact that it applies only to men raises a very red flag. What I can do is present a few scenarios to help you and the other HR directors reading this determine whether it would be okay to make their employees cut their hair:
MANDATORY HAIRCUT POLICIES

MIGHT BE OK IF:

NOT OK IF:

The policy is in writing and clearly explained
The policy is necessary for health or safety, e.g., risk employee might get hair caught in a machine
The policy applies equally to women who face the same hazard
You can’t accomplish the same purpose in a less intrusive way, e.g., by simply having employees restrain t...

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