Is No Hair Fair?

Hmmm, there has been a long running debate about facial hair in the workplace – whether it’s appropriate, acceptable or in some cases allowable under contractual agreements, but one thing is for sure, it divides people, usually men and women (men tend to have it and women generally, don’t. Ok, ok some do, but not that many!)

And, facial hair is back in the spotlight this month as the charity event ‘Movember’ kicks off with a whole month of widespread moustachery in and out of the workplace to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Even though it’s for a great cause (and here at The Works we will be growing our taches for the second year running to support Movember) in some cases just taking part might mean some people are breaking conditions of their contract of employment if, and I say if, facial hair is referred to as a special clause in their contract.

You see, contracts of employment can contain all manner of clauses that are included for a reason, reasons that might seem unfathomable, but if they are in a contract of employment that you sign, then you are buying into and agreeing with those clauses. It could be something as simple as: ‘Green clothing must never be worn at work’.

Ok that’s an extreme, and here at The Works we actively encourage people to wear our corporate colour purple, but we do not build it into contracts – yet! It’s more likely the clauses will refer to dress code and acceptable ways of dressing for work. It could even be health and safety related, so its reason for being included in the contract could be obvious. The two main areas of note relating to personal appearance at work are usually piercings and tattoos!

Recent research suggests that somewhere in the region of 50 per cent of females aged between 20 and 25 in the UK have tattoos and these are now considered the most common reason for including special clauses relating to appearance in more and more contracts of employment. Usually to keep them covered. Piercings are also growing phenomenally in popularity and these too are now another key source for special clauses in contracts at work.

As for facial hair, well yes, it does crop up as a special clause… Facial hair in males of most races grows naturally with the exception of Native Americans who can’t grow any. So if somebody was fired for not complying with a facial hair policy that is in place (and is deemed not discriminatory) then it is likely the employer is well within their rights and the law to terminate employment on breaches of that clause. Phew!

What I am saying is that knowing the detail of your contract of employment is essential so that you don’t mess up on something quite simple that you have agreed to! Geddit? Here at The Works we have just struck up a unique partnership with employment law specialists who are involved in all legal aspects of contracts of employment and they have been involved with literally thousands of cases of dismissal.

With the new service on board, The Works now has direct access to a specialist employment law – without actually employing a lawyer and the founder of the service has become something of a guru in this area handling over 10,000 ‘employee exits’ in her career. Connecting with The Works now means being able to tap into this huge bank of employment law experience, covering all aspects of employment law.

As for the issue of facial hair, one solution would be to employ lots of Native Americans (I can only really think of Cher and we don’t have her CV on The Works’ books) and facial hair would not be an issue. On the other hand, if your receptionist looks great with a goatee or moustache, just make sure she knows where she stands contractually and that she keeps it trimmed – whether it’s for charity or not!

For information about cost effective employment law advice service email me: or call 01133 20 11 30

For more information on the MOVEMBER charity and how to raise cash and have follicular fun for a month go to