‘Let us have beards!’ Publix has relaxed its stance on facial hair

Publix claims all its stores in Hurricane Michael hit regions are open
Publix claims all its stores in Hurricane Michael hit regions are open El Nuevo Herald file

Publix shoppers may soon notice something different about the faces of the employees staffing their grocery store — facial hair.

The Florida-based chain has recently relaxed its rules forbidding beards on male employees within the store (warehouse workers are already allowed to wear facial hair) in several test regions. But starting on Sept 29, workers company wide will be allowed to have beards, said spokeswoman Nicole Krauss, as long as its a “neat, clean, and professional appearance.”

“Publix continuously evaluates our policies and standards and strives to have practices in place that best support the needs and wants of our customers and associates,” she said.

A Miami woman posted a picture of the flier inside a Publix break room explaining the new rules, which mandate facial hair must be under 2 inches long. Employees who prepare or serve food must wear beard nets.

A petition started in 2015 by an employee asking the chain to change its policy — titled “Let us have beards!” — has more than 20,000 signatures.

Publix is locked in a federal court battle over another personal grooming policy. According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit filed last year, management asked a new employee to cut his dreadlocks to shoulder length, a violation of his Rastafarian beliefs. He asked if he could wear them tucked into a hat instead. The store said no, and he quit.