Long Hair Ban Upheld by Judge Citing Need for ‘Maximum Safety’

Issue 2 and Volume 128.

Long Hair Ban Upheld by Judge Citing Need for ‘Maximum Safety’ Features A federal district court has upheld a Philadelphia Fire Department directive regulating the length of hair and sideburns, banning beards and goatees, and limiting the size of moustaches. In his opinion, Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that Directive 13 was lawful because it was needed to assure the maximum safety of Philadelphia fire fighters while wearing self-contained breathing apparatus. Stressing the importance of safety, the judge said that “the officials of the (fire) department have the duty to seek to achieve maximum safety; a little less safety will not do.” Becker concluded, “In sum, we find that Directive 13 as a whole as well as in its component parts is justified by safety considerations which outweigh the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to long hair.” The opinion was…

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