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Employees can be fired for having dreadlocks


The GRIO

Employees can be fired for having dreadlocks

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BANNING EMPLOYEES from wearing their hair in dreadlocks is not a form of racial discrimination, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled 3-0.

The lawsuit was brought to the court of appeals by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which charged that an Alabama insurance claims processing company had discriminated against Chastity Jones in 2010 when she applied to work for them.

They offered her employment with the caveat that she needed to get rid of her dreadlocks because of their grooming standards, stating that dreadlocks “tend to get messy”.

When Jones refused to change her hair, the company withdrew its offer of employment.

According to the EEOC, “prohibition of dreadlocks in the workplace constitutes race discrimination because dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent”.

The EEOC even went so far as to say that “if a white person chose to wear dreadlocks as a sign of racial support for her black colleagues, and the employer applied its dreadlocks ban to that person, she too could assert a race-based disparate treatment claim”. (Adapted from The Grio)

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