Monday, April 13, 2009

Unworkable Hair

During the Age of Aquarius, there was no doubt the Monterey Peninsula was something of a hippie mecca. And, contrary to a popular stereotype, some of the hippies actually worked. The problem was when they lost their jobs and went to the Monterey unemployment office in 1970. As the popular song from 1971 went, "long-haired freaky people need not apply." The state unemployment office decided to deny benefits to long-haired men. Their reasoning was a survey of 900 employers found 81% of them would refuse to hire a man who was not trimmed at the neck and the ear and, therefore, such applicants were voluntarily limiting their ability to get new jobs. The state backed this local decision despite protests from attorneys that the decision violated first amendment rights. The Monterey unemployment office was more lenient toward free-spirited females however. As Time Magazine reported, “‘Only 3% of the employers surveyed want to hire girls who wear midi or micro-mini skirts either, but for the moment they are chivalrously being kept on the unemployment rolls."

Photo: unknown original source

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