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Help needed: Quick Question on Beards


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Hi there, Looking for a bit of advice/guidance in relation to being in a department such as CFS or FSE. My colleague has now been "off the run" for a while now as he is now an enforcement officer in P&P, however he is in dispute, as over the Christmas period he has grown a beard, now senior management is having a hissy fit. The only thing our service policy states regarding this matter is covered under: 

  • "All employees shall attend for work in a clean and tidy condition and their attire should be appropriate for the position held and not constitute a hazard or be clearly inappropriate."

His beard is trimmed and kept tidy, but as such he is now being forced to shave it off without being given a concrete answer apart from senior management doesn't like it. He understands that a beard can compromise the seal of BA etc etc but he has been off the run for a while and all his tickets have ran out, so if an operational need arrises he can't be lawfully asked to step up until he gets his tickets again.

I know support staff are allowed beards and such, but I was wondering if any of you know anyone else in other non-operational departments to help his case, such as CFS and FSE, that have beards also. Thanks in advance!

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Sounds to me like it can only be resolved with a formal grievance. Some individual managers will tend to enforce their own interpretation of the rules to meet their own expectations and not necessarily the expectations of the brigade. Not always a bad thing but it has to be fair to everyone.

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Despite my profile image, I had the same restrictions when I was in Fire Safety and it annoyed me too. I could- if required, remove the beard in 15mins - however retraining me in BA and other op changes would have taken much longer.

But in London, there were 4 x different pay grades performing an Inspecting Officer Role (WMA, WMB, Non-op Station Officer and a non uniformed 'civvy' grade). It was a dubious policy as we all did the same work but my salary was considerably higher that the non uniformed grade and a little higher than a NOSO.

My higher rate of pay could only be legal if there was some differences in my job description. Being available to be placed on the run was that difference. OK it was nonsense as I would have to be re trained, and could remove my beard then. But I saw that if I took a stand on this, I would probably be transferred back to a station or allowed to keep my beard if I became non op (essentially I would resign with all the pension implications that involves, and be re-employed as non op with reduced rates of pay)

So my point is, if this guy is getting paid 'operational' rates of pay, he should wind his hairy neck in and shave it off. He is probably on days, no nights, no weekends and as you say, he was off over Xmas - unlike his op colleagues. He is also getting skills, experience and perhaps qualifications that are transferrable in the real world.

In short, there are matters to make a stand, take a position and fight to the death on. Facial bristles - however neatly trimmed - is perhaps not one of them?

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