A district court ruled Wednesday in favor of two subway drivers who sought compensation from the Osaka Municipal Government, claiming they received poor performance reviews for refusing to comply with internal regulations banning beards.

The Osaka District Court ordered the city to pay the men a total of ¥440,000, saying that setting a blanket ban on beards goes beyond the scope of service discipline because having beards is a matter of "individual freedom."

The men filed the suit in 2016, seeking ¥4.4 million and recognition from the local government that workers are not obligated to shave beards.