News State Victoria News Fuzz on fuzz: police beards fall foul of the law

Fuzz on fuzz: police beards fall foul of the law

AAP
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A beard is not part of your identity, the Victorian Supreme Court has ruled, after a man lost his case against his employer to have a ginger goatee.

Sixteen Victorian police officers gathered their strands to fight a grooming rule introduced in 2012 to banish beards from their faces.

One officer said he couldn’t shave for medical reasons. Others said it reduced their levels of attractiveness, the ABC reported.

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The officers had taken their complaints to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, a small claims court, but lost.

Leading Senior Constable Michael Kuyken, who sports a neatly trimmed ginger goatee, decided he would take the case to the Supreme Court.

He argued he was being discriminated against, which contravened Victorian equal opportunity laws.

He lost the case, and was ordered to pay his employer’s costs.

London's hirsute bobby Peter Swinger says he loves motorbikes and meatloaf.
London’s hirsute bobby Peter Swinger says he loves motorbikes and meatloaf.

“[The tribunal] was not satisfied that a reasonable member of the public would consider that the plaintiff’s goatee imparts any information or ideas such as his desire to be an individual rather than an automaton,” Justice Gregory Garde said.

“The tribunal was not satisfied that having a goatee imparts any information or ideas, or conveys any meaning at all.

“The plaintiff had not established on the facts that he had been prevented from imparting any information or ideas.”

Victoria Police allowed beards in 2004 when Senior Constable Kuyken began wearing the facial style and ran foul of the new rules in 2012.

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