Markus Persson, who erects supermarket displays for Helsingborg company Reklamfabriken, turned up to work on Monday with a radical new hairdo. His fringe is died black, while the hair on the back of his head is bright red.
Persson’s new look did not go down well with Reklamfabriken’s owner and CEO, Stefan Dinesson. When he caught sight of Persson’s new haircut he told him to go home and not to return to work until he had dyed it to a less eyecatching colour.
Staff should “have a cared-for appearance,” he said.
“His job takes him out into shops and it’s important for my company that he gives a good impression,” Dinesson told The Local.
Persson says he has been badly treated.
“I feel hurt inside. I am disappointed they can’t accept me as I am,” Persson told Dagens Nyheter. He said he had not yet decided whether to follow his boss’s instructions and re-colour his hair.
Persson was backed up by the Graphic and Media Workers’ Union. Local union ombudsman Jan Nordström said the company was out of line.
“I can’t understand how him dying his hair harms the company’s reputation,” he said.
But Dinesson said his company’s rules were reasonable:
“There are rules wherever you go in society and you have to adapt to the rules where you are.” Dinesson said it was a “bit of a shame” that the union was backing Persson.
“We’ve drawn up this policy with the unions. I have to be able to say to an employee when something is unsuitable.” Dinesson added that he had had problems with Persson’s appearance in the past.
“He has had piercings and bits of facial paraphernalia before.”
Union rep Jan Nordström said employers have a right to object to more extreme piercings:
“If someone has a lot of piercings then the employer can draw a line, but it is not objectionable to dye one’s hair.”
Nordström added that while he could comment on points of principle, he would not be taking up Persson’s case as he was not a union member.