Just when we think things are getting better for the black and brown community, here we are faced with reality!
A black man was denied employment after failing to remove his dreads due to a company’s “grooming policy.” As reported from CBS news , Jeffrey Thornton filed a discrimination lawsuit against the event planning company Encore Global.
Prior to the suit he had worked for the company a total of four years while residing in Florida. However due to the pandemic in March of 2020, he was temporarily laid and later reapplied for employment with the company. However he expressed that his hair was never a problem then.
Fast Forward to today Jeffrey is currently residing in San Diego, he applied for a position and was denied when he did not comply with their request to cut his dreads off. “In order to take the job, Mr. Thornton would have to materially alter his hairstyle, and thus his appearance, cultural identity, and racial heritage,” reports the lawsuit.
Encore responded stating, Jeffrey misinterpreted what the manager was requesting from him and he is welcome to rejoin the company… INTERESTING!
“We regret miscommunication with Mr. Thornton regarding our standard grooming policies – which he appears to fully meet, and we have made an offer of employment, reviewing our grooming policies to avoid potential miscommunications in the future.”
Encore is doing whatever they need to clear their name of these accusations, however the damage is done; and realistically speaking the company needs to be mindful of who is in Human Resources. Not only is Jeffrey slamming them for discrimination against his hair, but he is also suing them for their weird policy that is offends Black people and an undermines a number of compensatory damages.
Jeffrey’s case will bring light to the CROWN act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. This unique act was established in California and went into effect back in January 2020. Sources confirm that Jeffrey’s suit serves as the very first case where an an employer has reportedly violated the CROWN ACT.
The order was purposely set in place to protect employees and applicants based on natural hairstyles; including afros, Bantu knots, braids, and cornrows. Cali is the first state to ban discrimination against natural hair in a workplace; other states are following the lead such as New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. We are hopeful that many other states will follow suit.
It is good to know that other states are implementing this law because let’s be real what does someone’s hair have to do with their work ethic? But I’ll wait!