Ruling allows job discrimination against people with dreadlocks

Ruling allows job discrimination against people with dreadlocks
October 13
09:00 2016



A few weeks ago, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against an Alabama company that refused to hire a black women because she had dreadlocks and would not cut them.

The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC on behalf of Chastity Jones, who had a job offer rescinded with Catastrophe Management Solutions, located in Mobile, Alabama,  because of her hair style. According to reports, human resources manager Jeannie Wilson told Jones during a one-on-one interview that she could not work there with dreadlocks.

The EEOC argued that this was a direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although dreadlocks are deeply rooted in the culture of African Americans, the court ruled Sept. 15 that CMS’s decision to rescind Jones’ job offer was based on a grooming policy that doesn’t have anything to do with race.

According to the Court of Appeals, while hairstyles are associated with race, traits in a person’s appearance that are tied to their culture but are otherwise changeable are not protected and can be used to deny job offers.

Last week The Chronicle asked people on the street and on a social media site how they felt about the controversial ruling. We asked: How do you feel about the U.S. Court of Appeals decision that makes it legal for employers to discriminate against people with dreadlocks?

First year Wake Forest medical school student Joy Spaulding, who has dreadlocks, said, “I haven’t really thought about it that much, but I think it’s pretty ridiculous.

“If it was between me getting a job and cutting my hair, I don’t know if I would be willing to make that decision to cut it,” Spaulding said.

“It makes me wonder why now?People have had dreadlocks for centuries. It’s kind of a disgrace because I don’t think it’s different than any other hairstyle. I think it’s a step in the wrong direction.”

Others gave their opinions, too.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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