Free the beard: Publix allows employees to grow beards now

Company-wide policy on beards changing Sept. 29

ORLANDO, Fla. – Publix is known for its attention to detail and employee cleanliness. 

In part, that included not allowing male employees to grow beards or have long hair. 

Mustaches have always been allowed, such as the thin pencil mustache Publix founder George Jenkins sported. Beards are OK for warehouse workers.

That policy is now no more. After the popular Florida grocery store chain experimented with allowing male employees in some markets to grow short, well-kept facial hair, the policy is changing. 

News 6 reached out to Publix, and here is a response from one of its officials:

“Publix continuously evaluates our policies and standards and strives to have practices in place that best support the needs and wants of our customers and associates. We have been testing a new facial hair personal appearance standard in several districts throughout the company that has allowed male associates to wear facial hair, as long as the associate maintains a neat, clean, and professional appearance. Beginning 09/29/2018, Publix will be implementing this change company-wide.”



That’s great news for male employees, as they won’t have to pick up the razor as often.

Jacksonville Publix employee Brandon Wesley has been pushing the supermarket chain to loosen its facial hair standards since he was an employee at a Tallahassee store in 2015 while attending Florida State University. He started an online petition called "Let us have beards!" that garnered more than 20,000 online supporters.

"I've talked to customers, and they don't know what the big deal is," Wesley said. "And when I talk to other people that might want to work here, it's one of the biggest reasons they don't apply."

As it tries to attract young workers with the low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in Florida, Publix and other businesses may have to reconsider conservative rules on grooming, said Cindy Lowman, branch manager for Orlando-based Top Talent Staffing.

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