The company previously banned Afros, braids, visible tattoos, beards, and some mustaches.

By Christopher Luu
Nov 12, 2020 @ 6:58 pm
UPS Truck
Credit: Justin Sullivan / Staff

For the first time in 113 years, UPS is allowing its employees to wear their hair in natural styles, including facial hair. The news comes after the international shipping giant named Carol Tomé as an executive back in March, making her the first female executive in the company's history. Previously, Afros, braids, beards, mustaches that extended beyond the crease of the lip, and visible tattoos were forbidden. In addition to the new allowances on hairstyles, UPS also did away with its gender-specific dress code.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Afros, braids, curls, coils, dreadlocks, twists, and knots are now all allowed. As for facial hair, any style is OK, as long as it's worn in a "business-like manner" and doesn’t cause safety concerns.

UPS told the New York Times that decisions came from the employees themselves, after Tomé "listened to feedback from employees and heard that changes in this area would make them more likely to recommend UPS as an employer."

The company's statement continued, saying, "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 Teamsters, which represents UPS workers, said it was "very pleased" with the news.

"The union contested the previous guidelines as too strict numerous times over the years through the grievance/arbitration process and contract negotiations," the union said in a statement. "We have proposed neatly trimmed beards during several previous national negotiations."

UPS's decision comes after the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) has become law in seven states. The act, which passed in states such as California and New Jersey and has passed the U.S. House, is part of a larger movement to end workplace discrimination against Black hair. 

According to the Times, in 2018, UPS agreed to pay $4.9 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case claimed that the company failed to hire and promote "Muslims, Sikhs, Rastafarians, and others whose religious practices conflicted with its appearance policy."