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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
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The Mind Reels

AUSTIN (CN) - In a complaint that government bashers will love, Roosters, a beauty shop chain, says an inspector for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation confiscated a safety razor and the department threatened a $6,000 fine because licensed cosmetologists are allowed to use safety razors only on men's sideburns and the back of their necks - but not on their mustaches and beards. Only barbers can do that.

Roosters claims a state inspector confiscated a safety razor and warned that cosmetologists are not even allowed to possess such a device at work.

Roosters describes itself as a "franchisor of grooming centers for men," in its complaint in Travis County Court. It has outlets in two Texas counties.

"The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) is prohibiting licensed cosmetologists from using safety razors on customers' mustaches and beards," the complaint states. "In the Department's view, cosmetologists may use safety razors on the back of the neck and on sideburns but not on the mustache or beard, which the Department believes are solely the domain of barbers.

"Roosters and Sylver Magnolia ask this Court to declare that the Department's interpretation of the relevant statute and rule is wrong and they ask the Court to enjoin the Department from causing further damage to their business."

The complaint continues: "On March 19, 2008, an inspector from the Department visited (Roosters') San Antonio store. She reportedly observed an operator using a disposable safety razor on a customer's face in preparation for a facial massage. The operator was licensed as a cosmetologist. The inspector informed the store manager that the Department considers it to be unlawful for a cosmetologist to shave a customer's face unless the cosmetologist also is licensed as a barber. Soon thereafter the Department served the manager of the store with a Notice of Alleged Violation in which the Department alleged that the holder of the barber shop license had committed a violation of law by allowing the cosmetologist to shave the customer's face. The Department recommended a penalty of $2,000."

But wait. It gets better.

"Since then, the Department has become even more heavy-handed, On September 25, 2008, a Department investigator visited another of Sylver Magnolia's San Antonio stores. He looked through cabinets and drawers and found a disposable safety razor at a cosmetologist's work station. The cosmetologist was not in the store at the time. The investigator announced to everyone in the store that, had the cosmetologist been present, he would have fined her $6,000. He confiscated the

safety razor and informed the store receptionist that cosmetologists could not keep such a device on the premises."

Plaintiffs challenge the sections of the Texas Administrative Code and Texas Occupations code that govern this peculiar prohibition. The rules are known as the Barber Law and the Cosmetology Law.

They are represented by David Swanson with Stone Loughlin & Swanson.

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