New Jersey

Religious New Jersey Firefighter Shaves Off Beard After Legal Loss

A lawyer for Atlantic City firefighter Alexander Smith says he decided to shave his 3-inch beard so he could continue to provide for his family

What to Know

  • Atlantic City firefighter Alexander Smith had filed a civil rights lawsuit to keep the beard he began growing as a born-again Christian
  • Fire department guidelines prohibit beards and goatees; a judge denied his request for a temporary restraining order
  • A lawyer for Smith says he decided to shave his 3-inch beard so he could continue to provide for his family

A New Jersey firefighter who sued to keep a beard he grew for religious reasons has shaved it off after a judge denied his request for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed him to keep his facial hair.

A lawyer for Atlantic City firefighter Alexander Smith says he decided to shave his 3-inch beard so he could continue to provide for his family.

Smith had filed a civil rights lawsuit to keep the beard he began growing in December as a born-again Christian. Fire department guidelines prohibit beards and goatees, saying facial hair can affect the seal of the breathing mask firefighters wear.

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Smith is an air mask technician who has never had to enter a burning building or wear a mask in his role. But fire officials say all active members are expected to fight fires during an emergency.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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