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Ask the HR Expert — February 20, 2018

Jill Schaefer /
  • Categories: HR
Unprofessional Hairstyles for Work

Q: We have a customer-facing employee who decided to grow out his hair for an unspecified reason. We don’t think this looks professional. Can we ask him to cut his hair?

A: If your company policy doesn’t specify gender hair length and there isn’t a safety issue with long hair, your employee is allowed to grow his hair out. Your concern may be that this employee is customer facing, but targeting only this individual and asking him to cut his hair represents an inconsistent approach. Additionally, there is the potential for perceived discrimination based on race and/or religious beliefs if you request this employee cut his hair.

Bottom Line:
Unless your policy states otherwise or there is a safety risk, we recommend not requiring this employee to cut his hair nor taking adverse action against him for his new hairstyle.

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