U.S Court Of Appeals Rules That Dismissing Someone From Work For Dreadlocks Is NOT Discrimination

dreads
If you find yourself a little bit confused about why we get upset when Marc Jacobs appropriates a black hairstyle and says he got the idea from rock and roll you should read this.

If you ever think for one second that “it’s just a hairstyle” when we write articles about people profiting from black styles that we cannot even wear in our normal life, then read this.

If you have ever had dreadlocks and have been discriminated against and have been told to cut your hair because your hair does not fit ‘dress code’ then you really should read this.

Last week the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that if your job prohibited you from wearing dreadlocks at work it cannot be considered race discrimination.

Via Atlanta Black Star

On Friday the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that prohibiting employees from wearing dreadlocks at work isn’t exactly considered race-based discrimination.

According to The New York Times, the ruling stems from a 2013 lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against an Alabama-based claims processing company that refused to hire a Black woman unless she agreed to cut off her dreads.
The suit was filed on behalf of Chastity Jones, an African-American applicant who applied for a customer service representative position at Catastrophe Management Solutions in 2010. Court documents state that the company initially hired Jones but then rescinded their offer when she refused to cut her dreadlocks.


Jones was informed by human resources manager Jeannie Wilson that her hairstyle was in violation of CMS’ grooming policy which states, “All personnel are expected to be dressed and groomed in a manner that projects a professional and businesslike image while adhering to company and industry standards and/or guidelines. . . . [H]airstyle should reflect a business/professional image. No excessive hairstyles or unusual colors are acceptable[.]”

Wilson also mentioned to Jones that dreadlocks “tend to get messy,” according to court documents. “I’m not saying yours are, but you know what I’m talking about,” she said.

While federal law prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of immutable traits like race or national origin, these traits do not encompass cultural hairstyles like dreads. That small detail is ultimately what lead Atlanta-based circuit court Judge Adalberto Jordan to dismiss the EEOC’s discrimination case.

“The district court dismissed the initial complaint, and concluded that the proposed amended complaint was futile, because ‘Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of immutable characteristics, such as race, color, or natural origin,’ and ‘[a] hairstyle, even one more closely associated with a particular ethnic group, is a mutable characteristic,’ ” Jordan wrote in the appellate opinion.

I know it is easy to just dismiss black styles as ‘just a style’ but clearly it isn’t treated like that in the real world. We still have work to do!

About Petra


Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra


Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

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schrodie
schrodie

Oh, FFS– quit looking for racism where none exists. Workplaces have the right to set grooming standards for ALL employees. I would bet that a white person couldn’t wear dreadlocks or liberty spikes, either. And yes, I see plenty of whites with dreads, and it looks utterly ridiculous and dirty. A blonde white woman would probably face scrutiny if she showed up with multicolor stripes in her hair and a half-shaved head. Yet nobody says a word if a black lady shows up at work one day with bleach-blonde hair. It isn’t “natural” for her to have that color (let’s say that the woman’s natural color is a nice ‘black cherry’, a deep rich brown-black with an auburn undertone) and it looks fake, but it’s acceptable. A man would face the music if he came in with a Ronald McDonald red clown style or 12″ tall spikes. If an employer feels that dreadlocks, rainbow colors, half-shaves, spikes or other ‘alternative’ styles do not meet the standard of grooming for that workplace, they are free to ban them.