Publix loosens dress code policy to allow tidy beards


MIAMI – Publix has announced that beginning next week, in-store employees will be allowed to wear closely groomed beards, reversing a longtime dress code policy.

Employees have appealed to the Florida-based grocery store chain for years to change the policy. One worker in Jacksonville even started an online petition called "Let us have beards!" that garnered more than 20,000 signatures. Experts said the change should help the company recruit more workers in a tight labor market.

Publix had been experimenting with the change by allowing workers in select stores to have facial hair in recent weeks.

The company-wide change, which goes into effect next Saturday, was announced to workers in a memo distributed this week. The new policy limits facial hair to 2 inches in length. Workers must also have a defined cheek and neckline.

Employees that prepare food will have to wear a beard guard, the memo said.