Air Force Times | Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa

Air Force Adopts New Standards For Turbans, Beards, Hijabs In Dress Code

For many jobs, there's a uniform that employees are expected to wear.

Whether it's so customers can better identify who works there (not that they always do anyway) or so management doesn't have any unpleasant surprises in the morning, it's clear that a lot of organizations maintain that there are benefits to standardizing how people are dressed rather than letting them wear whatever they want.

However, there's a growing understanding within both public and private organizations that it's possible for uniform policies to be too rigid and that any benefits that might come from them aren't worth discriminating against someone on religious grounds.

And while it seems that certain branches of the United States military have understood that for a while, a new step in Air Force policy should result in fewer headaches about headwear for all involved.

Last week, the U.S. Air Force updated their dress code guidelines to standardize religious accommodations.


As CNN reported, Sikh and Muslim service members now have a timeframe for approvals on their ability to wear clothing relevant to their faith with their uniform.

As well as ensuring that Air Force personnel will be able to wear turbans and hijabs if needed, these standards also apply to beards and "unshorn" hair.

Reddit | str8_70s

Under these new guidelines, Sikhs and Muslims in the Air Force can expect these accommodations to apply throughout their careers as long as their appearance is "neat and conservative."

Although the guidelines also stated that these guidelines wouldn't apply under "extremely limited circumstances," it seems unclear as to what those circumstances are.

Reddit | khandude88

For some clarification, we can turn to a similar guide from the British armed forces and see that this will likely only arise in cases of "a genuine and determining occupational requirement" to be of a certain religion.

Other than a case where someone is applying for a job as a Service Chaplain, this seems unlikely to arise.

It's worth noting that it was possible to get religious accommodations of this nature before, but they were individually requested and granted on a case-by-case basis.

As CNN reported, this meant that Sihk and Muslim personnel would have to wait a lengthy and difficult to determine amount of time before they were approved, if they were.

Now, however, the final review for these accommodations will happen within either one or two months, depending on the circumstances.

Air Force Times | Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa

If a case is under review from within the United States, applicants can expect a final answer within 30 days. Should the accommodation request come in from abroad, that timeline extends to 60 days.

While advocacy groups recognize this as an important step forward, they maintain that a broader policy of exemption for these articles of faith would better serve the needs of personnel.

Reddit | KeeJahFah, Scott Hansen

Such a policy isn't without precedent in the military, as the U.S. Army put it in place back in 2017.

For groups such as the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh American Veterans Alliance, an ideal world would see that level of accommodation extended to all branches of the military.

h/t: CNN