UPS reverses ban on beards and codes dictating gender-specific clothing to ‘celebrate diversity’

The pressed, brown uniform of the United Parcel Service is iconic to many Americans, but the company’s dress code was also a little outdated. Don’t worry, the uniform isn’t going anywhere. But your delivery person might be sporting a little more facial hair than usual.

“These changes reflect our values and desire to have all UPS employees feel comfortable, genuine and authentic while providing service to our customers and interacting with the general public,” the company said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal


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The new policy allows beards and mustaches “as long as they are worn in a businesslike manner and don’t create a safety concern,” according to documents reviewed by the Journal, and explicitly allows traditionally Black natural hairstyles, including “afros, braids, curls, coils, locs, twists and knots.” 

Piercings are still limited to “businesslike” earrings, and small facial piercings and tattoos must still be covered up, despite their increased acceptance in the United States in recent years. But gender-specific guidelines have been removed entirely, the Journal reported, saying instead, “No matter how you identify—dress appropriately for your workday.”


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Carol Tomé, the company’s first female chief executive officer, made the change in response to employee feedback, The Wall Street Journal reported, that said “they would be more likely to recommend UPS as an employer if it relaxed its strict appearance policy.”

This isn’t the first change the company has made to its rules: In 2018, UPS was forced to make exceptions for religious reasons in a $4.9 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

“For far too long, applicants and employees at UPS have been forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs and advancing their careers at UPS,” Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, said at the time.


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