Jeff Robertson/Associated Press
After years of strict appearance rules for delivery drivers, UPS relaxed and let them grow beards.
Previously, delivery companies were responsible for managing employees’ facial hair (most workers have no beards, and beards are limited to lip wrinkles or above) and hairstyles (blacks and braids are not allowed). Piercing is largely limited to earrings, and tattoos must be hidden. Now these clear rules have been removed, but the style must still be suitable for the workplace.
The company said in a statement: “These changes reflect our values and aspirations, and we hope that all UPS employees will feel comfortable, sincere, and authentic when serving our customers and interacting with the public.”
UPS told employees that these changes are part of the work of “promoting diversity rather than company restrictions.” Wall Street Journal report. After the delivery giant hired the first female CEO, Carol Tomé, the policy changed and the company paid more attention to race and other social issues.
The company stated that Tomé “heard feedback from employees and heard that changes in this area will make them more likely to recommend UPS as an employer.”
The road to removing these special restrictions is long. Some employees even initiated a petition and collected more than 9,000 signatures.
The petition said: “Many drivers of the United Parcel Service want to wear a beard, but they strictly violate the dress code because people in leadership positions at UPS believe that beards may be harmful to the public. Facial hair is established. This is the 21st century. Now is the time to change the dress code!”
In 2015, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the shipping company for discriminating against employees who had to wear a beard or dye their hair under their collars for religious reasons. EEOC also claimed that UPS did not hire or promote employees who failed to meet attendance requirements. In 2018, the company paid $4.9 million to settle the lawsuit.
The Teamsters union, which represents UPS drivers and other employees, welcomes the new policy regarding employee travel.
The union said in a statement: “We are very pleased with this. Over the years, the union has challenged the previous guidelines for being too strict through appeal/arbitration procedures and contract negotiations.” Proposals for a neatly trimmed beard were put forward during the negotiations.”
The company’s fascination with appearance began with its founder, James Casey, who has always been known for wearing suits. He has high expectations of himself, which is mandatory for his employees.
Adedayo Akala is an intern at NPR Business Service Desk.