About face: Idea of facial hair grows on some employers

Though employers once banned mustaches and beards in the workplace, most take a more subjective and lenient approach to facial hair today.
by Paula Burkes Modified: February 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: February 2, 2014
Advertisement
;

Meanwhile, American Fidelity Assurance Co. dropped its ban on facial hair years ago, Senior Public Relations Specialist Lindsey Sparks said. Similarly, Oral Roberts University trimmed its beard ban five years ago, according to Communications Director Jeremy Burton.

Oklahoma Christian University once banned beards, according to the 1968 and 1972 student handbooks, spokesman Wes McKinzie said. The exception was the month the college held its Western Day beard contest, he said.

Prickly legal matters

There are legal reasons that require employers to allow workers to wear facial hair, said Elaine Turner, an attorney with Hall Estill law firm in Oklahoma City.

“If the facial hair is required by a sincerely held religious belief, an employer is required under the law to allow the beard unless allowing the beard would impose an undue hardship on the employer, such as workplace safety,” Turner said. “Under the right set of circumstances, an accommodation may also have to be made by an employer to men who cannot shave due to medical reasons.”

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, up to 60 percent of black males and other ethnic groups with naturally curly hair get painful, itchy, inflammatory “razor bumps” from shaving. The condition results when shaved hairs curl back into the skin and become ingrown.

To promote its November men's health and wellness initiative, Integris Health loosens its facial hair policy during that month, sponsoring a mustache-growing contest among the Oklahoma City Barons team members, as well as an employee contest for a grill and other prizes.

“It's a humorous approach to get guys interested in their health,” said Steve Perry, systems administrative director for community and employee wellness.

For the internal contest, Integris employees voted on the co-worker with the best mustache, after photos were posted of the contestants' respective before and after faces.

2013 Champion Glenn Young, a lead maintenance technician at Southwest Medical Center, said he entered on a dare from three of his staff who also competed.

“It was a fun month going to church and stores; everyone would look at you funny,” he said. “But ... it was worth it.”

| |

by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
+ show more

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Conservative Activist Claims Women Paid The Same As Men Won't Find Husbands
  2. 2
    Report: Thunder to open playoffs on Saturday
  3. 3
    Former Sonics guard Gary Payton: Durant, Westbrook 'the new era'
  4. 4
    GOP consulting firm employee starts 'Boats 'N Hoes PAC'
  5. 5
    Why One Man Traveled Almost 3,000 Miles To Take On The Federal Government At A Ranch In Nevada
+ show more