(Closed) Can employers dictate hair color?

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 17
3089 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Yep. My hospital has the same rule!!

Post # 18
204 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Yes, the hospital should have the right to control it’s image.  And the employees have the right to choose to work somewhere else that doesn’t have those policies.  

Post # 19
1286 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018 - Omaha, NE

Yup. I’m not gonna say that’s the way it should be, but it’s the way it is. It will probably become more lax in the coming years, just like visible tattoos did. However, tattoos are also permanent (other than expensive and painful removal) so companies can’t really ask their employees to remove them, only to cover them. Hair color is very easily changed.

Post # 20
1104 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
redmango :  No, it wouldn’t make me change jobs. In my experience most people who are incensed by these types of things have not faced actual discrimination. An employer is allowed to have a dress code, a moral code, drug tests, not hire people with tattoos, not hire people with facial piercings, etc. These are not protected classes because they are options that people chose. When you choose to have blue hair, you take a calculated risk in your career. In many jobs it’s totally fine. 

FWIW, my husband has many impossible to cover tattoos. There are some companies that will never hire him because of this, and he totally gets it. He wouldn’t fit their vibe, their branding, or probably their culture. On the other hand I have a physical disability. That type of discrimination (or racial, or based on sexual orientation/presentation, pregnancy, age, disability, social class, religion, etc.) is legit. That’s wrong. 

If an employer doesn’t want an employee who CHOOSES to present themselves in a specific way…I think that’s valid. I think it’s generally dumb, but valid. I would also have employment issues if I started wearing skimpy tops and mini skirts to work, a guy at my office was eventually fired for having extremely poor hygiene (which they had talked to him about over and over again), and a woman was fired for shouting every time she was frustrated (like full on screaming and swearing). It’s a job, and part of what they pay you for is to play the part. 

ETA: When I worked in food service we were not allowed to wear nail polish, rings, watches, bracelets, or have our armpits visible. In our state that was all grounds for citing by the health department. Just part of life. 

Post # 21
2617 posts
Sugar bee

I would be totally furious if this policy was put in place after I’d already been working there for a while. I have had unnatural hair colour for about 5 yrs and have worked in 9-5 offices. I’m in design and marketing so I think I get a bit of leeway on it though.. But it can take a lot of time and money to get some hair colours, and I would be pretty pissed if i had to decide between finding a new job and shelling out $200-$300 for a colour correction. 

Post # 22
4251 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2009

Yes, every employer I have ever had, had a “natural hair colour only” policy.  

Post # 23
3212 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I definitely think that’s one that should have a waiting period in place to let people grow their hair out, should they wish to change their hair naturally. Most crazy colours require a fair amount of maintenance and will fade to base colour (some sort of blonde) within a few months.


FWIW, my province’s deputy speaker for the house has crazy awesome purple hair. If a career politician can do it so can I. (I work in a socially progressive field and I’ve never had a bad experience professionally from my pink hair!)

Post # 24
173 posts
Blushing bee

Sorry I misunderstood the question. Yes they can, I strongly disagree with it though. There’s also very little evidence about nail polish causing infections. Chipped nail polish is more understandable but not regular. 

Post # 25
489 posts
Helper bee

Yes, if you are representing the company or business to the public then I can understand why they would want to control this. It sucks, but it’s probably their best way of keeping things under control when it comes to their employees’ personal expression through physical appearance. I don’t think I would want to change jobs if it happened to me, but I never really dye my hair different colors (although I love the look on other people). 

Post # 26
10490 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

I’ve had weird colored hair my whole life, even I knew when I started working for the state I would be expected to have a “normal” color. It’s just the name of the game in some fields of employment. 

Post # 27
7564 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

View original reply
redmango :  of course an employer should be able to prohibit unnatural hair colors, extreme haircuts (I.e. Tall Mohawk), visible tattoos and other fashion statements. There are of course some boundaries, and a lot of grey area. You can’t require women to wear short skirts or require people with grey hair to dye it. Employees represent the employer and it’s the employer’s right to control the image that they want to project. 


Even the New York Yankees have a no-facial-hair policy!

Post # 28
7189 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think it’s foolish to enforce rules like this. It shows a greater concern for how employees appear rather than how they actually are, IMO. Also, these kind of policies aren’t far removed from the ones that deem certain cultures’ natural hair “unprofessional”. More forward thinking companies have started to recognize that adjustments that boost employee morale do a lot to improve productivity and loyalty as well.

Post # 29
2352 posts
Buzzing bee

Yes they can dictate how you look because they have a brand they want to present to the public. Like it or lump it thats the way of the world. The employer can come back and say then find another job if you can’t adhere to our requirements.

Perhaps when babyboomers aren’t in contorl, Gen X are in nursing homes and the milennials  take over it won’t be an issue. But it is now. 

Post # 30
715 posts
Busy bee

We do it at my job.

To answer your question: absolutely we can.

If you have bright green hair, I could care less what you think, you are NOT being professional. Especially at a place like a hospital. Anyone immature enough to go to HR to ask for re-imbursement for hair dye is not truly a professional individual.

This is actually a very common policy for professional workplaces to put into place.

I’d say it goes right alongside having a face tattoo and still calling yourself professional. It is not.

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