UPS relaxes rules on employees having beards, piercings and braids

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·2 min read
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 30: A United Parcel Service (UPS) driver gets into his truck while on his delivery route on July 30, 2020 in San Francisco, California. UPS reported a 13.4 percent surge in quarterly revenues to $20.46 billion beating analysts estimates of $17.48 billion. The global shipping company's net income rose 4.7% to $1.77 billion for the quarter.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The changes at the delivery firm include relaxing gender-specific guidelines as well as lifting a ban on facial hair and certain hairstyles. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

United Postal Service (UPS) has said it will eliminate rules on staff appearance in a bid to “celebrate diversity rather than corporate restrictions.”

The changes at the delivery firm include relaxing gender-specific guidelines as well as lifting a ban on facial hair and certain hairstyles, according to an internal document seen by the Wall Street Journal.

The company’s 500,000 workers across the globe were prohibited from having beards, wearing certain styles such as afros and braids, and staff had to have a particular length of shorts. Men were also not allowed to have hair longer than collar length.

UPS is now aiming to tackle bias, diversity and inclusion within the firm.

It said the move was to reflect its “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.”

Employees are permitted to wear piercings, which were also previously banned, but this should be limited to “business-like” earrings and small facial ones, the company said.

Tattoos, however, are still required to be covered.

The rules primarily have applied to delivery drivers, but excluded those who sort packages and load trucks. In 2018, a Derbyshire man was rejected for a delivery driver job at UPS despite being told he was an ideal candidate, due to the fact that he had a beard.

Moustaches and beards must be worn in a “business-like manner,” the document said, and not “create a safety concern.”

A UPS spokesman told the BBC: "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.”

READ MORE: Parcel carrier Yodel announces 2,950 new UK jobs in time for Christmas

It comes as experts have warned that a recovery in hiring in Britain has begun to stall amid tighter lockdown restrictions.

Industry data revealed seasonal job adverts are 31% lower than a year ago, and graduate vacancies and internships have suffered their biggest decline in at least a decade.

However, hiring at delivery firms is still ongoing. “Delivery driver roles are plentiful, boosted by the Christmas online shopping boom. There is also strong demand for online tutors,” said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna.

Adzuna figures show recruitment booming at delivery giants Yodel (1,647 jobs), Royal Mail (RMG.L) (1,524 jobs) and Hermes (353 jobs). Amazon (AMZN) and Tesco (TSCO.L) have also announced mass hiring drives.

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