Burger King is told to bin beard ban in Barcelona by Catalan authority

Burger King is told to bin beard ban in Barcelona: Catalan authority says fast food giant’s rules on facial hair and uniforms ‘infringes workers’ rights’

  • Burger King must allow staff to grow beards, moustaches and stubble
  • A Catalan authority ordered the change and said ‘moderate’ measures such as beard nets should be used instead
  • Fast-food chain’s branches in Barcelona will have to follow the rule change

Burger King has been commanded to let staff grow beards, moustaches and stubble by a Catalan authority after it found their rules violated employees’ constitutional rights.

A Labour inspection committee in Barcelona said that the fast-food giant should pursue ‘more moderate measures’ such as the compulsory use of beard nets. 

It also found that the practice of requiring men to wear ties and women ribbons at their restaurants in the region was sexual discrimination.

The chain had banned facial hair owing to its ‘food hygiene’ concerns.

Burger King has been ordered to let staff working in Barcelona grow beards, moustaches and stubble. (Pictured) A Burger King mascot with a beard, that would be unable to work in their restaurant, in Michigan, 2006

In its judgement, the regional government’s workers commission said: ‘It does not seem justified simply by referring to reasons of food hygiene.

‘This is achieved with equal effectiveness through other more moderate and non-injurious measures of fundamental rights such as the mandatory use of beard nets or similar for workers with a beard, moustache, or goatee’.

Its 46 restaurants in the Barcelona region will be required to scrap the facial hair and uniform rules following the judgement.

The investigation was triggered after the Catalan branch of one of Spain’s biggest trade unions, CCOO, complained to the regional authority following repeated discussions with the business. 

Carles Catala, from the union, told The Guardian: ‘Burger King’s internal rules – which are pretty reasonable – oblige workers to come to work in a well dressed, decent and hygienic state,’

‘That’s as it should be. But they also oblige me to shave off my beard for food preparation reasons? I found that very odd, so we put in the hands of the labour inspectors, who have pointed out that there are already measures available.’ 

A Catalan authority made the decision and said the fast food giant could pursue more moderate measures such as the compulsory use of beard nets. (Stock Image)

In a statement online CCOO, which asked the regional government to investigate the restaurant chain, said it ‘greatly appreciated’ the result.

‘CCOO hopes that from now on they will correct existing discrimination,’ they said.

It first requested the regional government’s input after the multinational company refused several requests to hold talks from the union and refused to change its rules.

Burger King has been contacted for comment. 

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