Can my employer make me shave my beard off
The short answer to this is yes. It is your employer’s business and therefore their rules unless a rule is clearly discriminatory and aimed at a certain group. For example, the Disney Store had a policy of not allowing staff to wear beards because in Disney movies the heroes were clean shaven and the villains wore beards. This is not aimed at a particular group and so is perfectly valid.
It may seem silly in this day and age but some people perceive beards as more scruffy-looking and casual so businesses ask employees to be clean-shaven to look professional.
Can my employer make me shave my beard off 100% of the time? Are there any exceptions?
Yes there are two. The first is if you have a religious reason for not shaving. It is a part of the Sikh faith that men do not shave their hair. If an employer insists on no facial hair in these circumstances it would be discrimination against the Sikh religion. There’s exception to the exception though! If a beard would impair the use of safety equipment then it’s a valid policy.
The second exemption is on medical grounds. Certain men have very coarse and curly hair in their beards. There is no razor that will remove the hair without causing painful bumps to appear on the skin where the hairs embed themselves. Over time this can lead to scarring. Not all states or countries allow this exemption so you would need to check if it applies.
Can my employer make me shave my beard off if it’s a new policy?
Yes. It may not have been a policy when you joined the company but companies can and do change their policies all the time. The fact that it didn’t exist when you joined the company is irrelevant.
Always be open with your employer about your beard style and check with them first about any changes you wish to make to your facial features.