A federal appeals court ruled that employers who ban dreadlocks in the workplace are not engaging in racial discrimination, according to the Huffington Post.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 3-0 last week to uphold a lower court’s dismissal of a 2013 lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Chastity Jones, a black woman. Jones says that after she was offered a job in 2010 at a Mobile, Ala., insurance-claims-processing company, a white human resources manager told Jones that her locks violated company policy and that she’d have to get rid of them because they “tend to get messy.” When Jones balked at changing her hairstyle, the job offer was rescinded.
The EEOC argued in its lawsuit that withdrawing the job offer because of Jones’ hairstyle constituted racial discrimination because “dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.” But the federal court dismissed the case; the EEOC filed an appeal in 2015.
But the appeals court, in its Sept. 15 ruling upholding the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case, said that racial discrimination had to be based on characteristics that were unchangeable and that dreadlocks did not meet that definition.
Source: The Root-Genetta M. Adams