02 Dec - Boston:
The right of a business to control its public image doesn’t trump workers’
right to dress or groom themselves differently if they are required to do so by
their religious beliefs, the state’s highest court ruled today.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the case of Bobby T. Brown, a
Rastafarian who worked as technician at a Hadley Jiffy Lube owned by F.L.
Roberts & Co. Inc.
Brown’s religion doesn’t permit him to shave or cut his hair. When the
company instituted a new policy that required employees who worked with
customers to be clean-shaven, Brown was only allowed to work out of sight from
customers in the lower bay of the oil change shop, the court said in an opinion
written by Justice Roderick Ireland.
The court warned that if employers are allowed to cite their “public image”
in determining who deals with customers, they might lean toward tolerating the
religious practices of majority groups, while forbidding practices that are less
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