Hair Discrimination is one of the forms of social injustice based on hair texture. The majority of people who are victim of hair discrimination are black people. They usually have afro-textured hair. This type of hair is assumed as unclean, unprofessional and unattractive.
If we talk about companies, then organizations may have an employee handbook which states about the hairstyles that are allowed at the workplace. But in some cases, women belong to African origin face the hair discrimination based on their hair texture. These employers do not allow them to have a natural look. In most of the cases, it hampers the recruitment process too. A candidate’s eligibility depends upon his/her hair texture or hairstyle. As per a report, African American people are the most victim of hair discrimination. Companies mostly create an employee handbook which includes a dress code. Additionally, they may add hairstyles. Earlier Federal law doesn’t protect the physical appearance. The employer could fire their employees if they found any inappropriate hairstyle. In 1981, Renee Rogers with afro textured hairstyle was fired from her job. In September 2016, a decision was made by a federal court that employees can be fired from a job if they have dreadlocks. Court states that if you are comfortable with dreadlocks, then you must have accepted that you will not be the first priority of employers as this is most important ever to a number of people who are well known.
Dress codes: Dress codes are usually implemented by U.S schools to have a significant presence. These dress codes usually contain rules such as you can’t have an inappropriate hairstyle. You can’t wear afros, dreadlocks, Bantu knots, and cornrows. It means the dress codes are made for African Americans who have afro hairstyles. Some of these hairstyles are associated with religious and cultural significance. But as per the law, the schools can take action against any of the students. Mostly private schools have this power as they don’t receive any of the financial grants from the government. Not only schools but some of the companies do also have a dress code where they have stated few hairstyles which are not allowed to wear.
1. In 2013, Deborah Brown Community School, a 7-year-old African American, Tiana Parker faced hair discrimination when her school sent her home just because she was an African American with afro hairstyle and dreadlocks. The school officials claimed that she was violating the dress code of the school.
2. In 2013, at Faith Christian Academy, a 12-year-old African American, Vanessa VanDyke faced hair discrimination when her classmates bullied her just because she was an African American with afro hairstyle.
3. In 2017, at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, Maya and Deanna Cook, twin sisters and sophomores faced hair discrimination when they were participating in a sports event.
4. In 2018, at A Book's Christian Academy, a 12-year-old African American, Clinton Stanley, Jr. faced hair discrimination when her school send him home just because he was an African American with afro hairstyle. The school officials claimed that he was violating the handbook code of the school.
5. In 2018, at New Jersey Athletics, a 16-year-old Andrew Johnson, an African American wrestler faced hair discrimination when a referee gave him an ultimatum to cut his dreadlocks.Lawsuits relating to African hairstyles:
1. 2010, at Alabama, this case is known as Catastrophe Management Solutions vs.Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Chastity Jones an African American women filed a case against Catastrophe Management Solutions. The company offered a job to Jones but they had a condition that Jones must cut her dreadlocks. In 2013, a case filed by Jones against Catastrophe Management Solutions with the help of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. But she lost that case.
2. In 2017 at New York, a 19-year-old employee of Banana Republic. Destiny Tompkins filed a case against the store manager because the store manager told her to cut her waist-length box braids. She could not work until she did not cut her braids. The reason given by the store manager was that her hairstyle did not match the image of the brand. So a statement was released by the company representative stated that hair discrimination would not be tolerated by them. They decided to file a case against the Banana Republic. They won and the store manager was terminated. In result, the parent company of Banana Republic, Gap Inc. faced a lawsuit of 1,000,000 USD in compensations of racial discrimination. This case is known as Tompkins v. The Gap, Inc.
Ban on Hair discrimination in New York: The New York city commission has released a notification which states that now no school, university, employer and other public places can’t terminate anyone on their hairstyle.
The law is made to protect the rights of African Americans. As a report states that they face this discrimination the most. If a company does hair discrimination, then it can face a fine of 250,000$ fine. No one can’t define the two words appropriate or professional. This law protects the individual’s right against hair discrimination. This means it’s illegal to do hair discrimination in New York City.
Anti-discrimination laws defend not only group or community, but they also save a whole generation. You can’t understate the importance of these laws. In past, we have seen many of the discrimination cases where a family or a community suffers a lot.
Most of the discriminations are associated with others. If we stop one type of discrimination, it automatically affects others as well. Earlier we have experienced discrimination on the bases of colour, religion, nationality etc. When the anti-discrimination laws were implemented against them, then it helps a community to in addition to that a country can grow. Equal opportunities for everyone will be the main motto.
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