UPS lifts ban on Black natural hairstyles, beards

UPS declared that it wanted to 'celebrate diversity' in loosening restrictions on Black natural hairstyles

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UPS is finally dissolving some of its discriminatory practices.

The mail organization announced Wednesday it will loosen restrictions on natural hairstyles such as beards, braids, or afros. They have also lifted gender-specific regulations in regard to the length of uniform shorts. The United Parcel Service Inc. announced its commitment to “celebrate diversity rather than corporate restrictions,” according to an internal announcement posted to the company’s internal website, per The Wall Street Journal.

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“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,” said UPS in a statement per CNN, and added the company is “determined to continue to make UPS a great place to work for all of our more than 500,000 employees around the world.”

The practices ultimately supported unconscious bias, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employees whose appearance or religious affiliations interfered with the guidelines prevented them from moving up in the company and sometimes meant they were only able to work in the back of facilities away from the public eye.

In 2018, the company was hit with a lawsuit for religious discrimination and had to pay a whopping $4.9. In addition, the company had to commit to a five-year consent decree with the EEOC, who filed the suit.

“For far too long, applicants and employees at UPS have been forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs and advancing their careers at UPS,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office per the document.  “The EEOC filed this suit to end that longstanding practice at UPS, and we are extremely pleased with the result.”

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Carol Tomé is the first woman to lead the organization. In a statement, the company praised her forward-thinking.

“Our CEO, Carol Tomé, listened to feedback from employees and heard that changes in this area would make them more likely to recommend UPS as an employer.”

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