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Disney Ends 60-Year Ban on Beards

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 26, 2012 5:02 AM

Disney's beard-ban is no more. Starting February 3, employees at the company's Florida and California theme parks can now have facial hair. It's a historic move for the company which has long been known for strict dress code policies.

There will still be some restrictions. Facial hair cannot exceed a quarter of an inch.

Disney still forbids visible tattoos, body piercings (except for ear piercings on women), "extreme" hairstyles or colors, and soul patches.

Women used to be required to don pantyhose with skirts. They were also barred from wearing tank tops until 2010. Female employees can wear sleeveless tops now -- but the straps must be 3 inches wide.

Some employers may wonder if these types of dress code restrictions are legal.

It usually is. Most employers can institute a basic dress code. But some businesses may run into legal trouble if they use polices that turn out to be discriminatory.

For example, forcing a Muslim man to shave his beard despite his religious beliefs could be a violation of an employee's civil rights.

The same goes for companies that stop employees from wearing religious headscarves. Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has run into this particular problem several times in the past few years.

Disney wanted to create a clean-cut image of their workers. That is why its policies were restrictive. Though, that might change soon. Disney wants to remain "current." In 2000 the company finally lifted the ban on mustaches.

Now, Disney's beard-ban is also a thing of the past. So who knows: maybe more revisions will shake up the company's strict dress policies.

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