After decades, UPS workers can freely don beards and natural hairstyles.
Previously, the company banned Afros, braids, visible tattoos, beards, and mustaches larger than the crease of the lip. The Wall Street Journal reports that Afros, braids, curls, coils, locs, twists, and knots are now explicitly allowed, along with facial hair that’s worn in a “business-like manner” and doesn’t cause safety concerns. A gender-specific dress code was also dropped.
Not coincidentally, this news comes after the company hired Carol Tomé, its first female executive in its 113-year history. UPS told the New York Times that Tomé “listened to feedback from employees and heard that changes in this area would make them more likely to recommend UPS as an employer.” They also said in a statement that “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.”
This policy change is part of a growing movement to rectify long-standing workplace discrimination against Black hair. The CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), legislation that bans restricting employment and educational opportunities based on hair texture, is a law in seven states, including California and New Jersey. In September, it also passed the U.S. House. Hopefully, there’s more approval of curl patterns to come.