A University of Maryland police officer was discriminated against when he was forced out of the job for refusing to shave his beard because of a skin condition that primarily afflicts black men, the Maryland Human Relations Commission declared.

An administrative judge ruled Friday in the case of Donald Boyd, of Baltimore, who has pseudofolliculitis barbae, which makes newly shaven facial hairs repenetrate the skin, causing scarring and lesions.

The University of Maryland at Baltimore was ordered to reinstate Boyd's job, which he lost in 1983, give him $22,000 in back pay and amend its no-beards policy to allow medical exceptions for PFB, which affects an estimated 22 to 47 percent of black men to some degree.

Boyd is happy about the decision and adamant about returning to his old job, but recalls the pain of attempting to keep it by shaving.

"I tried to be one of the boys, tried to fit in, but I got tired of bleeding -- bleeding every day just because society decrees that I look like other white males," said Boyd, 43, now a guard at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.

The university attorney who had argued that a beard would impair Boyd's performance declined to comment yesterday.

While many local police departments, such as those in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, allow medical exceptions from their no-beard rules, others have vague policies.

The U.S. Marine Corps and the Maryland State Police prohibit beards, without exception.

"There are many such old, antiquated, paramilitary attitudes like that still around. They're keeping black men out of good jobs," said Ronald Hampton, executive director of the National Association of Black Police Officers, who predicted that the decision will encourage others to challenge the employers.

But Maryland State Police officials contend facial hair is incompatible with police work.

"It almost comes down to a question of officers' survival," said Maj. Morris L. Krome, personnel chief of the State Police. "If you look sharp and look professional and look able to defend yourself, the public will treat you that way."

Soon after being hired as a campus police officer in 1973, Boyd said, he grew a beard to relieve a PFB flare-up. University doctors advised him to stop shaving.

Ordered by his supervisors to remove the beard or take sick leave, Boyd tried to comply for the next few years by shaving, which caused bleeding and scarring. He also tried using a so-called black man's razor, which resulted in a rough shave, and applying chemical depilatories, which caused layers of his skin to peel.

In 1983, a new supervisor began to strictly enforce the no-beard policy, telling Boyd to shave or go on medical leave. When his leave was exhausted, Boyd left the force and filed a complaint with the commission.

In his decision, examiner Timothy J. Hogan found that, because PFB primarily strikes black men, the university's policy was, in effect, discriminatory. He rejected a university witness's argument that beards "deter {the} image of competency and efficiency." Hogan also dismissed the university's argument the proportionally large number of blacks on its police force mitigates the racial impact of the beard policy.

Hogan said he could not accept the argument that the university is "free to discriminate against that sizable pool of black males that suffer from PFB."