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Flint, MI— A resolution opposing workplace discrimination based on facial hair is coming to the Flint City Council for a vote on Monday.
Specifically, the resolution states that the council opposes workplace discrimination based on “beards or other facial hair in the absence of compelling reasons of health, safety, and/or public welfare.”
During the council’s committee meeting Oct. 6, Councilman Santino Guerra said he had been working on this resolution for a long time.
“If the council remembers, we passed a resolution about discriminating against hair a couple months ago,” Guerra said. “But we didn’t include facial hair on that one … so this one allows people to not be discriminated against for having facial hair, or that type of thing, for both genders.”
On April 26, the council voted to adopt a resolution opposing discrimination based on “hair texture and protective styles,” such as braids, locs, or twists. This resolution followed a study that showed Black women experienced discrimination for wearing their natural hair to work.
According to the resolution about facial hair, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has promoted regulations that require employers to “allow beards for religious or medical reasons.” It also simply includes that the decision to wear or not wear facial hair is a personal choice of Flint residents.
It makes an exception for jobs where facial hair might interfere with the safety of the employee, and names firefighters as an example.
“They have to have breathing apparatuses, so it’s not discrimination because … they have to have it shaved for their job and for their safety,” Guerra said.
The resolution regarding facial hair will be up before the council on Oct. 11.