We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
In 1980, the D.C. Fire Department sacked Brian Kennedy for growing a beard and handlebar mustache in violation of department grooming policy. Contending that the ban on whiskers constituted a barbarous infringement on D.C.’s Human Rights Act, Kennedy filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint to recover his job. Now, 14 years later, the D.C. Court of Appeals has finally resolved the stubble trouble. In September, a three-judge panel ruled that facial hair does not necessarily interfere with firefighters’ performance and upheld Kennedy’s reinstatement to the force with back pay. In the meantime, Kennedy’s beard has probably turned white and grown as long as Rip van Winkle’s.