Shave or hit the road

Casinos aren’t the only businesses with strict personal appearance codes. When Wayne Merchant showed up for work at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area last week, he was told to shave—or find another position.

“I don’t know why I’d need to shave to be driving a Sno-Cat around at night,” Merchant complained at the RN&R office.

Merchant has worked for Mammoth in past years and knew the score.

He referred to his new bushy crop of facial hair as “artistic expression.” Denying the freedom of artistic expression, he said, is a violation of his rights. So Merchant filed complaints with the resort and with the U.S. Forest Service, alleging discriminatory hiring practices on federal land.

The resort’s grooming and appearance standard has been around since the early 1950s, said Jack Copeland, director of human resources for the resort. Copeland called Merchant a “disgruntled employee.”

"He’s blamed everything except the election in Florida on us," Copeland said. "We’d love for him to shave his beard and come back to work for us."