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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20225
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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My name is ***** ***** the company I work told me

Customer Question

Hi my name is ***** ***** the company I work for has told me I MAY have to shave for a respirator fit test. I'm reluctant to do so, and would like to know if there is a way around it. I'm asking not for religious reasons but for the fact that I believe I should have the same rights as someone who does have these specific religious beliefs. Please advise
Thank you for your time
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the information and your question. Although I can certainly understand your position, it is not consistent with the law. First and foremost, absent a bargaining agreement that states otherwise, an employer sets the terms and conditions of employment. So, that means that absent a contract violation or unlawful discrimination they can set any rules they want, even if they seem misguided or unfair.
As for the discrimination issue, the law protects certain classes of workers from unlawful discrimination. In the case of religion, the law says that if a person holds a sincerely ***** ***** ethical or moral belief that prohibits or requires certain actions. You can read about religious discrimination legal issues in the workplace by going to:
If you fit into this class and situation, then you could ask for a religious accommodation and if your employer could accommodate you, assuming you could still perform the essential functions of your job with that accommodation, they would be required to unless they could show an undue hardship or a occupational necessity. However, the law doesn't say that because someone who has a sincerely ***** ***** belief is accommodated, that everyone should be whether they have one or not. In that case, there would be no need for the law.
Please feel free to ask for clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In regards ***** ***** bargaining agreement. I am a union member and that term is familiar to me. But they hired me with the beard and no mention that it may be an issue some day.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. You might want to speak to your union rep about whether the BA addresses this issue. I doubt that it does specifically, but may address it indirectly. This would ultimately though be an OSHA or workplace safety issue related to the use of respirators, etc., safety issues. But you definitely should check with the union. The fact that they hired you with a beard makes not difference from a legal perspective, has mentioned, absent a prohibition of the rule they want to put into place in your BA, the employer can always change the terms and conditions of employment.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 11th. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (in the pop up box, which is how we get credit (paid) for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.
In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:
Thank you.