Employees at Publix Super Markets have been asking the company to review its dress code policy that outlines facial hair. So far they have not succeeded convincing the employee-owned supermarket chain, but a petition that received more than 18,000 signatures may give them the freedom they seek.
It is well known that people working in the food service industry are deprived of growing long beards. The main reason behind beard bans obviously is public health, nobody wants to find hair on their lunch after all. Anyone who does not want to stop showing their shiny and smooth beard carefully groomed and treated with the top-notch Bossman beard oil then working in a grocery store is not the right career. However, Publix employees are not really asking for long beards, rather they don’t want to be tormented by having to shave every single day.
The petition was created by a Publix employee at Coworker.org three years ago and they brought their battle to Twitter using the hashtag #FreetheBeard. Employees have brought up the example where the company’s decision to allow beards at its new GreenWise markets have proven successful. So, they are demanding the same dress code regulations to be implemented in the majority of its businesses.
“I want Publix Super Markets to review its dress code on its facial hair policy, which will also allow them to look at the other dress code policies in effect that may need modernizing (hair length, earrings policy, etc.),” says the petition drive started three years ago by Publix Employee Brandon Wesley. “I believe that the majority of the people I work with at Publix also believe that we should be allowed to have some facial hair besides only a mustache. We should be allowed to have a beard, with limitations on how long it can be and a beard net for the employees who work with food.”
“I have to shave over pimples every single day. I’d rather have some hair on my face than agonize in pain and have a few cuts on my face while I’m at work,” says Nicolas M, another Publix employee. “I have sensitive skin and my face breaks out if I shave too much,” another employee is quoted, displaying frustration over the beard ban.
Publix has refused to release an official statement regarding a possible dress code policy change, but rather silently softened its rules. “Publix has appearance guidelines for our managers and associates, as many companies do. For most stores, beards and goatees are not permitted. However, as we are constantly working to better understand what is best for our customers and associates, we are currently piloting guidelines that include allowing our male associates to wear neat, clean, and professional beards and goatees in a few Publix locations. Rest assured, food safety remains our top priority, and that will not be compromised,” was Publix’s response on Twitter to someone that noticed employees wearing facial hair at their grocery stores.
Publix is the world’s largest employee-owned company that is operated and owned by over than 190,000 of its employees. It currently has 1,171 stores in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia. Publix is also ranked No. 47 on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 2018.