Fashion Trends, Religion and the Law: How Religious Beliefs Can Affect an Employer’s Dress Code Policies

A must read for employers!

HVW Tax & Business Law Blog

Recent news reports suggest that men wearing beards, a trend recently experiencing a renaissance, may have peaked and the trend may now revert to a more clean shaven look.  While trends in beard growing, like all fashion, tend to run in cycles, employers are often left scrambling to adopt dress and grooming codes to accommodate the changing trends.  One issue that often lurks just below the surface of dress code policies is “what if the dress – or grooming – of an employee is driven by religious beliefs?”  That is, what if the beard that the employee is wearing is not merely a sign of his fashion sense, but instead a requirement of his religion?

Recently, the EEOC provided guidance on “religious garb and grooming in the workplace.”  The EEOC reminds employers, in most cases, they “are required … to make exceptions to their usual rules or preferences to permit…

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