Federal Court Rules It’s OK for Employers to Prohibit Dreadlocks

“How can the court or an employer feel they have a right to strip us of this option to wear whatever hairstyle we chose?” said Lissiah Taylor Hundley.

An insurance claims processing company in Alabama, Catastrophe Management Solutions (CMS), refused to hire Chastity Jones, a Black woman, because she has dreadlocks. In a 3-0 decision, the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of CMS last week, asserting that it’s legal for companies to refuse employment based on hairstyles.

Jones said she was planning to begin a position at CMS in 2010, when a white human resources representative told her she must get rid of her dreadlocks, as they “tend to get messy.” The company rescinded her offer of employment when Jones refused to change her hairstyle.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a race discrimination lawsuit against CMS on behalf of Jones in 2013, stating, “Dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.”

Related Story: Her Black Hair Became Poster Child for Unprofessional

U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan upheld a claim from a 2014 ruling by an Alabama federal judge that found the company’s hairstyle policy did not violate federal anti-discrimination law as racial discrimination had to be based on characteristics that didn’t change.

Jordan wrote for the September 15 ruling, “Discrimination on the basis of Black hair texture (an immutable characteristic) is prohibited by Title VII, while adverse action on the basis of Black hairstyle (a mutable choice) is not.”

In other words, the court does not consider dreadlocks an immutable or unchangeable characteristic that is only specific to Black people (even if the hairstyle is mostly worn by Black people). Therefore, telling a Black employee he or she cannot wear dreadlocks is not racial discrimination.

But if a sizeable segment of the Black population wears dreadlocks, Black women in particular, what impact will this ruling have in corporate America?

Lissiah Hundley, Cox Enterprises

Lissiah Taylor Hundley, diversity and inclusion strategist at Cox Enterprises

“As we’ve come to appreciate our diverse beauty and the unique kinks and curls of our hair, some of us have embraced our natural hairstyles and wear locs and braids with pride and appreciation for our heritage and love of our hair texture,” said Lissiah Taylor Hundley, diversity and inclusion strategist for Cox Enterprises (No. 18 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list).

“With all of this considered, how can the court or an employer feel they have a right to strip us of this option to wear whatever hairstyle we chose? That in itself is a concern.”

In her role at Cox, Hundley is the company’s senior diversity and inclusion subject matter expert, and an advisor to leadership and stakeholder groups across the enterprise. DiversityInc asked Hundley about her personal experience having worn dreadlocks in corporate America, and the implications of the court ruling.

Q. As someone who has worn dreadlocks in a corporate setting, did you experience discrimination? 

A. Fortunately for me, no one blatantly expressed their bias or issues with my hair; however, looks and questions can be just as impactful. I often received comments or questions from employees about my hair.  The curiosity alone just floored me. I usually wore my hair in a more conservative style during the day, pulled back into a bun. However, even when I wore it down, it could never be described as messy. That statement alone reflects bias, and is offensive to me.

When I was seeking a corporate role in the finance industry I did receive some coaching from a senior leader who asked me to “think” about my hairstyle.

He said he would never tell me to cut it, but he reminded me of the lack of diversity in leadership and the perceptions some people have of locs and other natural hairstyles. Although the conversation may have been in good will, it left me with a sense of anxiety and concern. I ended up cutting my hair. I got the job, but I never knew if my hair would have been a derailer. I definitely regretted it, but it helped shape my position and support I now provide to others who seek to wear locs and other styles in the workplace. We should be able to be our authentic selves.

Related Story: Cox’s Lissiah Hundley Talks About Addressing Unconscious Bias

Q. What implications will this ruling have in regard to natural hair in the workplace? Will some companies reconsider allowing Black women and men to be his or her authentic self?

A. I sincerely hope this is not the end. I was not surprised by the decision, but I was extremely disappointed with the ruling. The precedent it sets could be detrimental to the employment of key, high-performing, diverse talent — not to mention early career talent like millennials who may refuse to let go of their authentic selves.

If a company is known for their lack of diversity, they will lose in the war for talent. As we know, diverse talent enables us to connect into our communities, develop products and services that meet the needs of diverse consumers, and drive innovation in the workplace. Companies seeking sustainability must think carefully before discriminating against candidates and employees based on their hairstyles.

Unfortunately there are some companies or leaders who are not as far along on the “diversity journey.” They will feel better about themselves and their beliefs, and they’ll consider the ruling as justification for their biased views. Those companies and leaders may be successful now, but will they be around in the future? Our country is becoming more and more diverse by the day. The minority is quickly becoming the majority. Companies that embrace diversity, inclusion and the uniqueness and individuality of its employees and customers will be around in the future; those who don’t … good luck.

Q. How can companies effectively educate HR professionals on cultural differences and address unconscious bias?

A. Diversity and inclusion leaders can be a valuable resource. We work closely with our HR professionals and talent acquisition teams, and we’re consultants and advisors to the business.

As a part of our strategic plans, we should have a learning/education component that drives awareness and education across our companies. General diversity and inclusion training, cultural competency training and bias specific training can mitigate some of these issues. Our communications strategies should also reflect the diversity of our workforce and communities.

The media has a huge influence on bias and perceptions. Imagine the inclusive message a company would send if they used ads and media with professional-looking Black women with natural hair.

In addition, we must also understand that awareness, education and communication are solely not enough. We also need to partner with our leaders and HR professionals to develop core policies, processes and procedures that reinforce these learnings. If you have a brain, you’re biased, so this can’t be a one-and-done kind of initiative. It requires ongoing, consistent focus and support.

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    • I’m confused. Natural hair is not acceptable, but people who have piercings and tattoos are. Hair is natural, it’s how God made us, but to have something adddd to your body that was
      not there i s ok?

  • I am without words. This is heartbreaking. {a white human resources representative told her she must get rid of her dreadlocks, as they “tend to get messy.”} Wow! News flash: all hair ‘tends to get messy!’

  • M. Hayden, Esq.

    Dear Sheryl,

    I echo your sentiments of feeling disappointed by the Alabama Court’s ruling in the case discussed in your article wherein a job offer was rescinded because the newly hired African-American employee refused to cut or change her dreadlock hairstyle. I don not necessarily agree with the court’s holding that hairstyles can and are able to be changed and therefore should not be given the impetus of racial discrimination, i.e., one’s skin color cannot be changed. I preface my comment with the fact that employment or labor law is not my practice area of specialty. However, the Court might have reached the same decision or holding based on the fact that a newly hired employee is on probation and may not be accorded the same deference a permanent employee may be given. Although, I concur that racial discrimination exists in recruitment, hiring and firing in the work place. People of color, of whom I am one, may have to face facts that a job is a privilege and not a right. Moreover, in the corporate world an employee’s or prospective employee’s appearance and image is expected to comport with corporate culture. I for one do not think that this practice will change anytime soon. But, to your point, the more folks of color crack the corporate ceiling, the more there exists the possibility of increasing the corporate cultures’ awareness and importance of a diverse work force. Thank you for this intriguing article and case.

    • I am responding to you because you are an attorney. I am mortified by this ruling. Please tell me we can over turn this. Anybodies hair can get messy. And if this stay’s it’s just the beginning of more control over how not only a black woman but women in general are expected to appear when in a work environment. I am so bothered by this. Give me some kind of hope.

  • Since almost everything that is considered Black has been historically vilified and demeaned — it makes sense that the court would make this ruling. Until society recognizes the rampart inequality between whites and minorities, rulings like this will continue to be made with illogical legal defenses that make the decisions seem sound and not like the racist declarations that they are.

    The continued intent to subjugate what is known as a representation of the Black culture adds to the asinine thinking that “White Lives Matter” of course they do and no one has ever questioned it. One is not saying one life matters more than the other, one is saying that Black lives matter TOO, but apparently the courts don’t get that either.

    • Read Ta-Nahisi Coates’ book “Betweenness the World and Me” for more on this theme – his explanations and way of relating his awakening is both startling and mind expanding. A great read.

  • I’ve had jobs where I had to wear button-up dress shirts with a tie, and keep my hair trimmed off my collar and there was no facial hair allowed.

    I wasn’t big on those restrictions, but it came along with the opportunity to have the job.

    I just always assumed that the person who owned the company could place those kind of restrictions on me as a condition of my employment…. I was even told that I could grow a beard, or I could work there (When I returned from a 9-day vacation unshaven).

    I was a young White male at the time, and I didn’t especially like the thought of some stodgy old codger telling me how to dress, but it was his company???

    Just wondering where the line on appearance should be drawn….

    • Dan, I use to wear chemically processed hair styles so that my hair was fashionable and presentable. Then one day my hair started falling out. my dermatologist at the time (a white male) told me that the only way to stop losing hair was to stop using the chemicals. I had to go natural at that point. But the time to make my hair presentable every morning took a great deal of time. I was easily 2 hours just working on my hair which had to do with my personal hair texture, grade, curl and coarseness. Ironically enough my hair was perfect for locs (what some call dread locks). Once I found that locs was an option for me the style allowed me to reasonably fashion my hair in a neat style for work in just a few minutes time. I wash my hair regularly and I am able to put my hair up in what are seen at traditionally neat women’s hair styles creating a professional look. This is not the same as your choice to wear a beard or not. This choice was about providing me with the ability to get to work on time with a hairstyle that was manageable. My hair style without locs is not as manageable because of the impact of climate and moisture. I wish I could just wear an Afro but my hair seems to not look as professional in my efforts to wear an afro. I think the Afro is very professional on others but I just have trouble with my Afro so I have locs as an alternative. It is a quality of life issue. What this company is doing may not be illegal but it is culturally insensitive. It is the same as saying that a women who lost all her hair and could not grow her hair back has to wear a wig because others are uncomfortable with her bald head. Professionalism is sometimes just code for “make others comfortable” which I understand but locs can be worn professionally and kept up just like any other hair types. It is just not the same as your beard.

      • Channelle,

        thank you for your considered (and considerate) response.

        For the record, I agree with you and would have no problem with dreads or any other hairstyle (since I didn’t state that explicitly).

    • When the employers appearance requirement causes harm to an employee or applicants overall health.

    • I agree Dan – it is a very fine line. As an owner I would like the right to have my employees project the image I feel is appropriate for my company – that is why they can require things like uniforms or a certain type of pant or shirt. Appearance, per se, is not a protected category. There were good points made in the suit – that particular objection does disproportionately affect a certain group. It is though, a choice also. My strongest objection was the request was made by an individual – HR folks stopped a lot of progress as gatekeepers in the past – and it seemed to be based on that person’s opinion. That is where the danger comes in unless it is specifically corporate policy and there is a business necessity for it. I wonder where the line is too. I like the comment about probationary posted earlier. Perhaps the worst part of this is the young lady was not given the chance to show what she could do and that is very sad.

      • Thank you Teri, I had the same concern re: the HR person’s “opinion”. What was the company’s policy before the dreadlock decision? How long can other women wear their hair? Dreadlocking your hair is a style similar to a white person perming their hair to create curls. Does the company have a problem with the texture or the length? Texture can not be controlled if a woman wants the right to wear her natural hair. So I must assume it is a length problem. A woman may be required to put long hair in a bun or pony tail if it interferes with safety or production. Dreadlocks can be put in either style to comply with company policy. So I am not sure what the court’s ruling was intended to support. The HR person required her to cut her hair or change the style. What style did she feel was appropriate? Straight? Surely the court is not supporting a policy that would require assimilation by way of colonialization.

    • Charity Dell

      DAN–The “line” should not involve an employer’s obsession about hair texture, especially hair texture from sub-Saharan African genetics! Employers should not be so OBSESSED
      about forcing African hair to conform to some “Euro-American Corporate Ideal” of hair styles. I have yet to see any employee of a school, office, store, department, etc. wear dreadlocks in a way that would either impede their job performance or jeapardize
      the safety of themselves or others.

      African hair possesses a wide variety of textures, including wavy, crinkly, curly, nappy, curly-wiry, curly-wavy, curly-crinkly, corkscrew, corkscrew-wavy, corkscrew-crinkly, corkscrew-nappy, corkscrew-wiry, nappy-wavy, nappy-wiry, wiry-wavy, crinkly-nappy, crinkly-wiry, crinkly-wavy; and a huge range of volume, stiffness and grade of softness/coarseness. Coarse crinkly hair can also be very soft and baby-fine; wavy hair may be stiff and thin; soft nappy hair can also be relatively stiff but medium coarse, etc.

      Dreadlocks can be formed by many grades/textures of African hair and most dreadlock wearers who work in white-collar professions and offices tend to have their dreads
      professionally styled and maintained; they are equally fanatical about the hygiene of those dreadlocks. Therefore, there should be no “restrictions” on a hair style that also forms
      naturally on many heads of sub-Saharan African hair.

      How would employees with straight hair like to be told that their hair MUST be curly-permed and worn that way in order to “fit in” with the African-haired supervisors and

      2. Frankly, I also do not understand why employers can be obsessed with male facial hair.
      Males have substantial amounts of androgen and testosterone, which permit them to grow facial hair. Again, that is natural and as long as the beard/mustache was trimmed, neat
      and shaped to the face (and the employee did not resemble the “Duck Dynasty” crew),
      there is no reason to tell males they need to “be clean shaven.” The Y chromosome kicks in and males tend to grow beards and mustaches–so what’s the problem?

      All this HAIR OBSESSION by employers is a waste of time and an expression of

      • Charity Dell

        All this HAIR OBSESSION by employers is a waste of time and an expression of a
        racist pre-occupation with, and desire to control, what God put into the DNA codes
        of humans of African descent!

        • Absolutely, just another form of control where they should not have it. Someone probably should look at other practices at that company.

    • The problem is we are now living in 2016….and second shaving your dreads is more intrusive because you need to shave off all your hair you had for many years. Plus this kind of policies are designed to targets blacks and blacks alone( since I have seen some very white excentrics personalisatie and haircuts in corporatieland). But I would not want to work for a employer like that anyways, because this is a sign of more to come and you’re right it’s his company but did he hired you for your looks are your capabilities or is he trying ti fill in a minority quote.

    • Those days are gone when men started to wear light blue shirts. You were not asked to use lye to straighten your hair to look white. My hair does not grow out of my head straight. It has a tight curl. I can loc it, Afro it or shave it my head but it will not be straight like a white person. When all professional workers were white male everyone could look the same except for a difference in hair color. Now there is a rainbow of workers in the workplace. More change is coming it is all a matter of time.

    • Yes, where is the line on appearance drawn?
      Yes we should be professional at work, dress and hair, but who deems what looks professional?
      The downside of working for someone who owns the company, rules made up as you go to suit them that have absolutely nothing to do with customer service, job performance or excellence.

      Shaving a beard and cutting off all of someone’s hair/dreadlocks to satisfy some deep hate or sense of reckless control is outrageous.

      Yes, put long hair in a bun, keep beard shaved neatly, wear hair nets, got it, wear gloves when working with patients, got it, no open-toed shoes when dealing with specimen, makes sense, but a hairstyle that is only offensive to those who heard a black person say that dreadlocks and natural hair supports cultural pride, is why it’s an issue.
      If no one had of ever stated anything about cultural pride, this would not be an issue, but because pride was mentioned, the world is in turmoil over it.
      It’s about ego, control and hate, period.

      I see a lot of what I consider unprofessional on jobs, by people who don’t look like me and amazing, no one is bothered by it, now laws are being put into place.

      It’s a sad state of affairs.

      I work for the government and if God saw fit to let me keep my dreadlocks after being diagnosed with breast cancer, then I will not allow hate to remove them.

      Just my thoughts

      • Congratulations on surviving cancer. On a lighter note, if we are going to address styles of attire in the office, can we please start with closed collar and ridiculous colorful scraps of cloth tied tightly around it? I have not worn a tie since my stroke two years ago. I don’t go to the barber very often, either. My work is just as good.

    • I can understand how this would be confusing. The difference is, you were required to look professional, neat and clean. Natural hairstyles do not equate with not being neat and clean. If a person is required to look like another race because you don’t like the style, that is going beyond what should be required to have a job that is racial bias. What if you were required to wear a natural and told that your straight hair was unprofessional?

  • Minorities need to hire more minorities! Fear and other neg images of ourselves don’t allow us as professionals to move forward. I bet if we hired each other this nonsense would stop! Make companies 50:50 and you will see change. Doesn’t make sense to be Ina meeting and 98% are white. Hire each other! Let go of the mental slavery that we pass down from generation to generation and a change will come! No one can say anything then.

  • Maybe national origin should have been used instead of race.

    Black hair naturally dreads, therefore it is an immutable characteristics specific to Hebrew people.

    Because Black hair naturally dreads then the loc itself should not be considered a “hairstyle”, as locs can be manipulated into a various hairstyles.

    I am curious to know if any experts like Paul Mitchell, Aveda or Bronner Bros., Dermatoligist and a Patholigist were consulted? Or any federal agencies that are responsible for educating the public on cosmetic devices and chemicals?

    In order to achieve the professional “look” the hair has to be exposed to extreme heat and or chemicals, all of which, are detrimentally unhealthy and unsafe for the person whom is seeking a straight hair vis-a-vis severely damaged hair.

    If employers are afforded the right to hire and fire because of certain hairstyles this information should be stated in their job advertisements and the applicants hairstyle should be recorded during the application process.

    • I agree with you John. There are so many nasty dangerous chemicals in our hair and beauty products that shouldn’t be. As long as you are clean and work well, who cares what your hair style is. On another note, I know men who wear beards because shaving causes painful razor bumps. I wonder if this would be a valid medical reason if an employer said “no beards”?

  • Maybe national origin should have been used instead of race.

    Black hair naturally dreads (hair texture), therefore it is an immutable characteristics specific to Hebrew people.

    Because Black hair naturally dreads then the loc itself should not be considered a “hairstyle”, as locs can be manipulated into a various hairstyles.

    In order to achieve the professional “look” the hair has to be exposed to extreme heat and or chemicals, all of which, are detrimentally unhealthy and unsafe for the person whom is seeking a straighter hair vis-a-vis severely damaged hair.

    I am curious to know if any experts like Paul Mitchell, Aveda or Bronner Bros., Dermatoligist and a Patholigist were consulted? Or any federal agencies that are responsible for educating the public on cosmetic devices and chemicals?

    If employers are afforded the right to hire and fire because of certain hair textures this information should be stated in their job advertisements and the applicants hairstyle should be recorded during the application process.

  • As an African American female lawyer, I have to agree with Dan and not the “more African than African” blacks defending the style. I wear my hair in a short natural style and have eliminated the cancer/lupus-causing hair straightening chemicals since 1992. In my opinion, dreadlocks, no matter how “well-groomed”, look nasty on black and white people.
    . Some blacks believe that they are embracing their African culture, the dreadlocks style was popularized in the U.S. by the late Bob Marley, a Jamaican, gunja-smoking, Haile Selassie-worshipping Rastafarian cultist! Thus, this hairstyle carries the stigma for gunja, weed-smoking, drug addicts. Every person I’ve encountered in the six different cities I’ve lived in from the East to the West coast fit the weed-smoking or psychotic profile.
    . Africans in the bush also wear dreads, but that’s because they live primitively in the bush and grass huts!! In America, you should look like you’re living in CIVILIZATION, NOT IN THE BUSH! Locking up our naturally curly, kinky hair is UNSANITARY and as smelly as white folks hair when it’s wet from rain or sweat.
    . When blacks are asking or begging white business owners for jobs, you should abide by THEIR DRESS CODES, especially in restaurants. As a black person, I WOULDN’T HIRE someone who wear dreads, is stupidly faddish and/or too lazy to COMB their hair. Get your OWN BUSINESS if you want to HAVE YOUR OWN ETHNIC STYLE!! Here in backwater, backward Seattle, they allow men to wear kilts (skirts) to work just because they want to embrace their Scottish heritage! She’s in the conservative South, if she wants to wear dreadlocks, MOVE to the drug havens on the wacky West, Northwest or its twin. “EVERYTHING GOES” East coast.

    • This ruling is definitely wrong. Possibly done in retaliation for the events pledging our headlines. Furthermore, just shows how many of the officer’s involved in these shooting are left unpublished because of seemingly endless legal loopholes. As I told my homeboy, if whites wanted, they could potentially legalize slavery, again. So, as a legal profession myself, I have learned to respect the law, but keep in mind, had it not been for the brave people who challenge the employers decisions or employment actions, the cases would never make it to the supreme court. Likewise, this decision won’t change unless it is challenged. Therefore, we should not let a supreme court ruling influence our choice to wear dreads. This is only another “pretext” to discrimination. Believe me, dreads or no dreads, you wasn’t gonna get that job.

    • Charity Dell

      ZAZIJAMS–I have worked in libraries and the public schools, in which I observed both male and female employees–including teachers, support staff, assistants, auxiliary personnel, etc.–wore a variety of dreadlock hairstyles in different lengths and textures. They were all NEAT, GROOMED and STENCH-FREE.

      1. I also observed that some of the dread styles served to lengthen hair on those whose
      hair had been affected by traumas of various kinds, including the aging process, chemical damage due to chemotherapies or other drug interactions in the human body. For example, many common medications people take for diabetes–such as Metformin–can
      take out hair, especially if the person is on multiple medications for cardiovascular
      problems. Metformin will react with other drugs–such as blood pressure medication–
      and also thin out the hair.

      Not everyone can or should wear wigs, and dreadlocks also provide a way to increase hair volume for many people whose hair has thinned. I noticed many older Black female teachers, for example, who clearly had thinned hair, who utilized dreads in various lengths and thicknesses to good effect. The dreads successfully hid bald spots and thin spots
      on the scalp, while adding thickness in the natural texture.

      Again, I noticed that most white-collar professionals tend to wear dreadlocks well, with SCRUPULOUS HYGIENE and MAINTENANCE.

      2. The more “nasty” variety of dreadlocks I observed were more often worn by
      poorer young folks who did not have strict hygiene–but most of them were not
      working or if they did, did not work in professional environments or offices.

      Dreads can be successfully worn in the work environment, provided the wearer is scrupulous about HYGIENE and GROOMING.

    • The fact that you would use a term like “African more than African” blacks shows you lack respect for other human beings.

    • I wear my hair in locs. I do not smoke weed. I think your comments are unhealthy.

    • I’m truly glad that’s your opinion and your opinion only. You obviously have had limited exposure to many who have well-maintained locs. I’ve yet to come across anyone fitting the description you’ve given when it comes to wearing locs, and I’ve lived globally. And I’m glad I do have my own business, so that I can be free to wear my locs proudly and without prejudice.

    • Wow: such self hatred and animous.

      I’m in the metro-DC area and have seen any number of professionals wearing neat, well cared for dreads .

      Since when did Rastafarianism become a cult? Its a sub culture of Coptic Church of Egypt.

      If neat, well cared for dreads are a no go, what about long, below the collar hair on the heads fo white males? . . .

  • Charity and everyone else who believe the court’s ruling is wrong are forgetting the salient issue: When you work for business owners, THEY SET THE RULES! It goes back to the GOLDEN RULE and COMMON SENSE that these deadlock-wearers don’t seem to have (probably from decreased brain cells from smoking gunja weed or drugs): Whoever has the GOLD, MAKES THE RULES!!
    . This issue is analogous to the same-sex marriage and transgender bathroom debate. Just because some people allow it and think it’s ALRIGHT, doesn’t make it RIGHT or proper! As black, Latino, or Asian “minorities”, as long as we have to work in the private or government sector for Europeans, we need to DRESS, WEAR OUR HAIR, and SPEAK THE KING’S ENGLISH IN THEIR BUSINESSES OR MILITARY. When blacks or whites get it in and on their heads to wear a crazy Medusa-type hairstyle that looks like slimy worms, they NEED TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESSES!
    . What’s even more asinine (pun intended) is the fact that she is in the low down, dirty South that has the most conservative, backward 11th Circuit Court; every decision they make is equally ASSinine! She’s stupid because, if you’re going to pick a fight on a liberal “black” issue, don’t go into a gun-totin’ hillbillies bacKKKyard trailer parKKK to make demands –you’re going to get shot down even with your hands up.
    . The whole concept of dreads is so Ugly

  • The whole concept of dreads is so UGLY and DISGUSTING that NO amount of grooming can aa them look attractive. As much as I equally despise insecure black women that wear [blond and red] wigs and weaves (this equally smelly fake hair that is chemically processed to prevent maggots does NOT require FDA approval), at least it’s more appealing and professional-looking than dreadlocks. They can still put a comb through it and look well-groomed.
    . This is a basic BUSINESS CONCEPT: Companies want to hire employees that are ACCEPTABLE TO THEIR CLIENTS or CUSTOMERS. The same goes for excessive, stupid people who want to tattoo visible parts of their body and face. If these worm-headed idiots don’t understand this basic business concept, Lil’ Wayne or other az-exposed, saggy, dirty drawers-wearing thugs might be hiring.
    . Admittedly, she’s a very attractive woman, but having good looks doesn’t guarantee COMMON SENSE. I’m glad that Diversity allows us to have this discussion. It reflects the diversity of opinions amongst African Americans on this issue. We can respectfully and strongly disagree. Our natural hair is beautiful and versatile, but dreadlocks (especially Marley’s) are so nasty looking it makes me want to gag. By the way, my weed-smoking cousin wears blond dreads and I’ve told her that she looks like an uncivilized savage too. Another basic concept that is applicable here: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!” As Eurocentric African AmeriKKKans, we’re. doing everything else white AmeriKKKans do–monkey see, monkey do! Just how stupid does dark-skinned Lil’ Wayne and Lebron look with tattoos (like the white basketball player, “Birdman” you can’t even see without a microscope! It looks like a bunch of nasty keloids! Monkey see, monkey do.

    • ZaziJams you are the epitome of self hatred.

      I like how you think because you don’t have dreadlocks that somehow you have “arrived”, white people with hatred in their hearts still see you as a nappy headed black woman, short fro, weave, wig, dreadlocks or slick chemically treated hair down your back, still black.

      What will you do when they decide that short afros are no longer professional? Shave it all off or sport a colorful wig to work?

      Your comments make me want to gag, because hatred amongst our people is just as toxic as hatred from other races.

      Hair is hair, and just because it isn’t locked doesn’t mean it’s being taken care of any better.
      It’s a cultural pride issue, period. It has been spoken out loud and it offends “certain people” who hate to see others show even an ounce of pride.

      It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone who is so full of anger and rage against your own people.

      You just need a hug and some love in your life, you’re mad at everybody.

      Your issues are not even about the ruling. Write a letter to Iyanla Vanzant and ask her to assist you with fixing your life, because no ruling should make anyone speak with so much vile and then say a prayer, write in a journal, forgive your parents or the man that hurt you, because your issues are” locked” up in you and you need to set them free.

      Don’t fall for the stereotype of being the “angry black woman”, relax.

      Peace be unto you.

    • ZaziJams – we get it your PERSONAL opinion about dreadlocks or locs is they are dirty and nasty and associated with marijuana smoking nobodies. I have locks and my hair is probably cleaner than yours — but like old world racists that can’t be told anything positive about blacks, you seem stuck in your belief. Again, we get it. We also get that you believe that you need to put up with whatever rules people have because they are in a position of power. So as you are bowing down to whomever has the most gold, the rest of us will be fighting against injustice. When this benefits the greater population all you need to say is “thanks”.

      • She claims to be an attorney, but also claims that business owners are free to make their own rules, which is not legally correct when it comes to anti-discrimination laws, as in this case. Thanks, in advance, for fighting against injustice.

  • I used to work for a major health provider. Shortly after I began working there, I mentioned to coworkers that I was planning to spend the weekend getting my hair braided. I was later approached by my supervisor who told me that such a hairstyle was considered “unprofessional” and not appropriate for work.

    I checked the employee manual and nothing was said about hairstyles in the manual. I went back to my supervisor and told him that “unprofessional” was a matter of opinion. I pointed out that the longtime receptionist that worked there was a “Tammy Wynette Want-To-Be” who wore her hair in a high, teased beehive! Some may be of the opinion that such a hair style was unprofessional, especially since Ms. Wynette, herself, had stopped wearing such a hairstyle decades earlier. Should someone direct the receptionist in HER choice of hairstyle? He told me to do what I wanted with my hair.

  • Mau Mau Rising

    Why isn’t this a free speech issue, whereby hairstyles are forms of expression?

  • I wore my hair in braids for 8 years in “corporate” america. Because I understood how to care for my hair, I was always asked how it always looked like it was done the day before. But I was always on the phone at my jobs. I went to the interviews with braids and the issue was never brought up. I never smoked weed, I don’t have a criminal record and speak English clearly. The only people that commented negatively was some black ignorant folks who saw me while on vacation. Some Whites have no clueclue how their business would possibly increase with diverse hairstyles on the front line. Some businesses bottom line should decrease if we voted more with our dollars. #BlackPeopleTalkAboutHairStylesDaily

  • I personally love the variety of looks people can achieve with their hair, natural or not. It is a fun way to change your looks, and it just makes things more interesting. I can’t imagine telling someone that they can’t were their hair a certain way, unless it was a safety issue, as in long hair around machinery. Everyone has different taste and opinions, that’s what makes life interesting yes? What I will never understand is why some feel the need to be nasty and insulting. There is just no need to be ugly to anyone because they style their hair in a way that you don’t like.

  • I was hired at as a Claims Adjuster for a large national insurance company in Columbus, OH. I decided to cut off my locs for loose natural hair. One day I wore extension cornrows. The same manager that hired me commented on my hair. Bless his heart, he didn’t even realize the difference between my locs and synthetic extensions. I really hope this case goes further to the US Supreme Court. The ruling is non-sense. The reasons the employer gives for disallowing locs is totally baseless and stereotyping. All hair can be messy. I hope Ms. Jones appeals to the US Supreme Court. This issue needs to be settled. If the Army is okay with locs, what isn’t a small insurance company?

  • I’ve worn locs for 16 years now. Started 6 months after I got a new job. Got more than by share of stares and comments, even from my supervisor who Latina. But those stares and comments only served to fortify not discourage me. And by the way, my hair is clean, coiffed, ordorless and neatly styled. I work in Corporate America and get compliments all the time. ZaziJams is way off base.

  • So, if race is immutable but hairstyle is not, what about religious headgear? I know companies which prohibit hats/caps/headscarves… EXCEPT muslim women. Is being of a certain religion immutable? Further, if part of one’s identity in that religion calls for a certain choice of apparel (which would be otherwise prohibited), and if one were to apply the same logic, could muslim women be forced to remove their hijab or be fired/not hired? IMO, the issue needs some study.

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