Sweetwater Mayor Wants No Facial Hair and Limited Piercings for Employees

In Sweetwater, city workers know their appearance matters, especially for city workers. Mayor Jose M. Diaz e-mailed a memo on the matter July 2nd.

The mayoral missive covers hygiene, casual Friday clothing policy, limits female workers to not more than two piercings per ear, allows none for men, and requires men to be clean shaven.

Over at FIU, a short walk from Sweetwater City Hall, the memo met mixed reviews. And on FIU's Sweetwater campus, not everyone's on board.

"I've turned down jobs already that they've told me they've offered me a position but told me I would have to shave," said doctoral student and Sweetwater resident Josh Mullenite, who added that he thought city workers already, "looked fine."

Coming from the gym, upperclassmen Arturo Abreu, Joseph Salguera, and James Lima found themselves splitting hairs on the issue of guy's grooming in the workplace.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous," insisted Abreu.

"If it's clean-cut, and you make sure you've always got maintainence, I don't think it should be a problem," Salguera interjected.

"You're working for somebody, and if they want certain things and they can mandate what they want you to look like and the appearance they want to portray to others," Lima explained.

In a statement, the Mayor's Office called the memo 'an effort to establish order and efficiency, while delivering the greatest effort towards excellent services.'

Mayor Lopez's office added that the policy is in accordance with federal workplace guidelines which make considerations for workers with religious or ethnic conditions, and men who may have difficulty shaving.

For those men, the City of Sweetwater asks that their facial hair be kept "neat and trim."

Facial hair advocates counter that men should be allowed to grow their beards and mustaches as they wish, and that a century ago, fresh-shaven faces weren't popular in politics.

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