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Question: Can an employer require a female to wear make-up to work or not cut their hair (in fear of looking like a male)?


Generally, this will depend on the type of work that is being done, where, and the policies of a company or organization. 

If  a woman lives in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, or Montana and the company has a policy that one's uniform includes wearing makeup, the woman could be fired for not following company policy. 

A female bartender at casino in Nevada was fired for refusing to wear makeup and sued her employer for sex discrimination under US Law (Title VII), alleging both wrongful treatment and negative impact, and sued under Nevada state law.

Her case was dismissed in the District Appeals Court and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (one step below the US Supreme Court) upheld the dismissal, saying that appearance standards in the workplace must be considered when requiring female employees to wear make-up. This includes appearance rules for males only too, including short haircuts and neatly trimmed nails. The Court went on to say that as long as the appearance policy applies to both sexes, with reasonable differences as necessary, and is not overly burdensome to one sex, the policy is OK.

If you would like to read the case, search online or go to a law library and ask for the reporters to:  Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co.  Inc.,  392 F.3d 1096 (Nev. 2004).

1 thru 2 of 2 comments
On 01/01/08
Jerik from AZ said:
 Its a policy to keep all employees loking thier best, and, like they said, it must apply to men as well and not be overly burdensome to a single gender.
On 04/27/06
Bee from AZ said:
This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard! It is discrimination against women, by saying that we cannot look good without make-up, but men can, and thus making us inferior. This is silly and ought to be re-examined.
1 thru 2 of 2 comments

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