Beard ban sparks unfair dismissal bid

A QUEENSLAND engineer unhappy about his employer's new policy on facial hair has lost his unfair dismissal bid.

William Bishop, a process control engineer for Incitec Pivot for 12 years, ceased his employment with the fertiliser maker on August 31 after the introduction of a new personal protective equipment policy that would have required him to at least partly shave his beard.

Mr Bishop lodged an unfair dismissal claim with Fair Work Australia, arguing his resignation was "forced" because he faced the choice of quitting or being fired for non-compliance with the facial hair policy.

The tribunal heard the new policy required workers at the Phosphate Hill operation plant site to carry respirators to protect against dust, fumes, gases and vapours, according to an FWA decision published late last week.

These face-piece respirators needed a facial seal to be effective, the written decision stated.