Would You Remove Your Braids If Your Job Asked You To? Woman Loses Job Over Braids

Lara Odoffi

Another day another ‘discriminatory’ act based on hair. We see these headlines all the time…. so and so was asked to leave because her hair was too, poofy, braided, curly or just plain ‘out’.

Lara Odoffin is the latest woman to experience this when the Bournemouth University graduate was offered a job only to have the offer snatched off the table if she did not remove her braids.

On Facebook Odoffin wrote the following:

So after being accepted for a position within this company, they have TAKEN BACK the offer of a position on the grounds that if I do not take my braids out.

Naturally I simply cannot work for the company. This type of discrimination should not still be happening in this day and age and any establishment still condoning such practices deserve to be shamed and criticised.

Being a black woman means that to have a long term hairstyle that stays neat is always going to be a problem.


Having braids that last for 2-4 months and can be packed neatly and styled to however a workplace requires is the solution to this problem. No workplace has any right to forbid you from this.

This is discrimination and I am disgusted that I had to be subject to such behavior in this 21st century. Please share. It is not okay.

We know there will be the opinion that braided hair in comparison to natural hair is hardly discriminatory because having braids can be considered a ‘style’ or an ‘aesthetic’ rather than something that naturally grows out of your head.

The truth is this is not discrimination in the legal sense of the word but it is very unfair. At the end of the day, why would a manager or set of managers eliminate the value of what a person can bring to their organisation based on how they wear their hair?

It seems to me that if you are willing to eliminate a candidate based on something so simple that chances are the company’s decision making over all is probably not that great.

On the other hand there are those that will say, all she should do it take the braids out, which would eliminate the problem all together.

At the end of the day I am all for someone standing their ground if they can afford and I cant help but think first it will be braids, and then it will be something else!

Braids do not determine someones worth and it is clear to me that the company who she has refused to name does not value her beyond her hair style.

Lara has since posted a thank you note on Facebook based on the support she has received over this issue:

I thought i’d post a status to save time answering questions.

Firstly I’d like to say thank you to everyone for the support. What I intended to be a vent of my feelings towards the company and maybe be shared a couple of times has exploded and touched/angered a lot of people in way I genuinely could never have imagined.

I am not currently naming the company (as much as i’d like to right now out of indignation and anger) because I do not intend to destroy someones livelihood and business, and I don’t really want a lawsuit on my hands either… however it does not deter from the fact now that I have chanced upon an opportunity to correct blatant ignorance and discrimination, and it is a fact that I certainly will keep going until it is put to rest. If it does result in me having no choice but to completely expose the company, I have no problem in doing so.

This policy needs to be eradicated completely, there is no room for such rules in this day and age- across any sector. More than anything it just made me upset. I had the right experience, they were happy to have me… it was just about my hair. Kind of silly really. I will be speaking to a lawyer about this tomorrow and will be contacting the company. As I have now learnt social media is a very powerful thing and I would not want to misuse it!

Again, thank you very much for the surprising but amazing level of support, I will keep you posted.

Weigh in, should Lara just take out the braids and go for the job? Or should she continue to stand her ground?

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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Adeola | www.coilsandglory.comCynthia Francis-CrockettCarlaVanessa McClintockDy McCaskill Recent comment authors
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AK Gibson

Well, depends on how much I need said “job,” and what exactly that job entails. There will always be certain requirements for certain jobs and certain connotations behind certain requests…. If they have clients that want things a specific way, and you need that job, then you’ll groom to fit that job. People do it all the time, and it’s not always necessarily due to acts of prejudice…. BUT they knew beforehand what she looked like, I’m sure, so it’s pretty much bs to hire her and then be like, “Wait… We gotta do something about your hair.”

Tracey Mc Cloud-Killebrew

Depends

Angela Giusto

No I wouldn’t. What I did in my job as a train hostess in Rome Italy was to make possible for every black girl to wear braids because these are part of our culture.

Dy McCaskill

I sure would. People get HOME and WORK mixed up sometimes. Your EMPLOYER pays YOU to perform tasks, look a certain way OR be a certain way. YOU pay yourself at home. Find another job if your appearance is not what an EMPLOYER deems acceptable OR change your appearance. I’m not about to apply DISCRIMINATION about some dang hair since the unchangeable color of my skin and my gender warrants that moniker when it is applicable. Good grief!

Lee Felder

Thank you

Carla
Carla

I wonder if the Employer would find an afro acceptable or if they would further demand a more Caucasian look that we can easily achieve with perms, heat styling, wigs or weaves (don’t want to show the kink).
These days, skin color and gender can be changed. The Employers tend to have a little meeting with us when someone has communicated to management that they’re undergoing a gender change, basically, so we can start referring to them by their chosen new name and start referencing him as her or vice-versa. So much flexibility for gender change, but braids are just a bit too much.

Ivy Jackson

I would hope I would never work at a place that would have a problem with a hairstyle.

Paula E Wilson

No!!!!!!!

Lee Felder

Hell yes! I have a child and my braids won’t pay my bills.

Rosalyn Guest

No that’s ridiculous, what does my hair have to do with my ability to do my job?

Dominique Mays

No. My hair has nothing to do with my degree, experience, and my ability to do the job. As an African American woman that’s part of our culture. I can see covering tattoos and taking out piercings to look professional. You can have braids and still look professional

Dy McCaskill

Does it NOT matter what the person (EMPLOYER) who will be paying you deems to be professional looking? Employers arent only picking folk because of their degrees and experience….. Be Honest……Will YOU pick the dentist with the PINK hair OR the dentist with the Black hair? The money manager with the shaved mohawk OR the money manager with the top bun???? I know you, as well as I, have given employees we’ve seen with different hairstyles the side eye in some establishments we go to. BTW- I am African American and BRAIDS are not apart of my CULTURE…… My mother has never had braids in her LIFE, and she is African American! I know many African American women who have never nor will ever have braids…… They are a choice of convenience for every sistah I know.

LeChonne Wright

Nope! I sure would not! Then I’d find ways to blast them in public!.

Vanessa McClintock

Hell No… You are Beautiful…Don’t let this Distract you.. Satan is always busy.. God has something better for you…

Cynthia Francis-Crockett

No

Adeola Adegbusi

well, it depends on how much she needs the job. but the truth is, if its not her braids today, it will be her natural hair tomorrow.
but let’s be honest, some braids are inappropriate in general, so it could have been the style of braids that was inappropriate
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