The Teamsters, who represent UPS workers, said they were “very satisfied” with the changes.
“The union has challenged previous guidelines as being too strict on several occasions over the years through the grievance / arbitration process and contract negotiations,” the union said in a statement. “We have offered well-trimmed beards in several previous national negotiations.”
Some jurists felt that UPS’s policy change was long overdue.
“Although UPS has defended its grooming policy in previous civil rights litigation, it seems UPS can now better appreciate that its ban on natural hair maintains the racial exclusion of black workers from employment opportunities simply. because they wear their hair as it grows naturally. Said D. Wendy Greene, professor at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University and architect of the Crown Act.
“In doing so, UPS’s grooming policy sent a clear message to black workers that they were required to change or extinguish a fundamental part of their racial, cultural and sometimes religious identity in order to be a member of the organization.” , said Professor Greene.
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, professor of law and dean of Boston University Law School, who has studied hair codes, said the change at UPS “recognizes that allowing people to be themselves authentic is good for business. ”
Policies that ban natural black hairstyles are clearly discriminatory, she said, because they deem black hair “inherently unprofessional.”
Dominique Apollon, vice president of research at Race Forward, a racial justice organization, said companies that ban natural dark hair are sending the message that “white standards of white beauty and comfort are ultimately the rule. default value”.
“I would like to see these kind of policy changes accompanied by a deeper reckoning with the past, and with a humility that is unfortunately not often present in our contentious society,” he said. “Companies like UPS need to recognize that these types of policies have had long-term effects and will continue to have racial ramifications or consequences unless more is done.”