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Workers can wear beards, Japanese court rules

Ruling came after 2 subway drivers in 2016 petitioned court over discrimination for wearing beards

Workers can wear beards, Japanese court rules

By Riyaz ul Khaliq


In a decision upholding individual freedom, a court in Japan has ruled in favor of the freedom to wear beards.

The ruling came after two subway drivers in 2016 sought compensation from a local government in Osaka, local outlet Japan Today reported on Thursday.

“Blanket ban on beards goes beyond the scope of service disciplines because wearing beards is a matter of individual freedom,” said the Osaka District Court on Wednesday, directing local authorities to pay the men a total of 440,000 Japanese yen in compensation.

The two plaintiffs had told the court that they received “poor performance” reviews for refusing to comply with internal regulations banning beards.

The code was devised by then-populist Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

Besides compensation, the two men had sought “recognition” from the local government that workers were not obligated to shave beards.

“Beards cannot be taken on and off and restricting them in service disciplines will affect private lives,” Presiding Judge Hiroyuki Naito said in the ruling.

“It was illegal that the drivers were given lower scores in their performance reviews,” he added.

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