United Parcel Service (UPS) is now embracing diversity as it relaxes its rules on employee appearance. The delivery titan also said they are eliminating gender-specific rules in an effort to celebrate diversity instead of focusing on corporate restrictions.

With its more than 500,000 workers globally, the company has been known to implement a long list of strict rules that are purposely made for employees who face the public such as delivery drivers. Their rules cover a wide range of specifics from appropriate hairstyles and the length of their uniform shorts.

In their bid to tackle issues on diversity, bias and inclusion, the new guidelines will now allow UPS employees to sport afros and braids.

After having had a long-standing ban on facial hair, the company's new policies have also given way to employees wearing a moustache or a beard. Workers have previously filed a petition to overturn its ban on beards following a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2018. The lawsuit was in regards to the company's rules on hair length and beards, which had UPS paying £3.7 million to settle the case.

At the time, employees were only allowed to have facial hair if they are able to acquire medical or religious exemption also known as "shaver waivers."

In an internal document from the UPS, it said its workers can now freely grow facial hair "as long as they are worn in a business-like manner and don't create a safety concern."

In an interview with the BBC, a spokesman for the company said:

"These changes reflect our values and desire to have all UPS employees feel comfortable, genuine and authentic while providing service to our customers and interacting with the general public."

Piercings are to be limited to earrings and small facial studs and must still exude a "business-like" appearance. Tattoos however, are still required to be covered up.

A most notable move for the company's push for gender-inclusion was in May, when UPS welcomed its first female chief executive, Carol Tomé. The company lauded her efforts to listen to feedback from its employees. She heard the need for changes in this area and sees this as a means to make UPS a highly recommended employer.

The move will be the second day of strike action by 120 drivers and loaders in Camden (Reuters)