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U.S. Circuit Court rules it is legal to refuse jobs to people with dreadlocks

After Alabama business reneges on job offer, woman takes them to court and loses dreadlocks thegrio.comRefusing to hire someone who has dreadlocks is legal, thanks to a recent ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed a lawsuit against Catastrophe Management Solutions of Mobile, Alabama for rescinding a job offer to Chastity Jones because of her dreadlock hairstyle. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EEOC lawsuit.

During the hiring process Jeannie Wilson, a human resources manager for CMS, reportedly told Jones that her dreadlocks were unkempt.

According to NBC NEWS, Wilson allegedly said “They tend to get messy, although I’m not saying yours are, but you know what I’m talking about.”

Wilson told Jones that CMS would not bring her on board with dreadlocks before terminating the job offer, NBC reported.

The EEOC, in their lawsuit, said this violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII, arguing that dreadlocks are a hairstyle “physiologically and culturally associated” with African-Americans. Further, the EEOC said the hairstyle is a “racial characteristic” used to harshly and unfairly stereotype Black people, such as viewing people who wear the style as bad team players or unfit for the workplace. Therefore, the EEOC argued dreadlocks do not fit a grooming policy.

The court of appeals, however, disagreed with this rationale, ruling that CMS’s “race–neutral grooming policy” was not discriminatory as hairstyles, while “culturally associated with race,” are not “immutable physical characteristics,” according to NBC News. Essentially, this means that while African-Americans may wear the hairstyle and it may be tied to their culture, it is unlike an immutable physical characteristic as the hairstyle can be changed. Thus, the court ruled people who wear dreadlocks are not protected from job offers, or the lack thereof.
This is just the latest restriction attributed to the hairstyle. Some schools have also forbidden children from wearing dreadlocks. Last year, Attica Scott, whose daughter is a student at Butler Traditional High School in Louisville, Kentucky, tweeted the dress code distributed by the school, which specifically prohibited “dreadlocks, cornrows, and twists.”


Court Rules Dreadlock Ban is Legal During Hiring Process

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that would make refusing to hire someone because of their dreadlocks illegal.

According to NBC, the lawsuit was filed against Catastrophe Management Solutions (CMS) by the EEOC on behalf of Chasity Jones, whose job offer was rescinded by the Mobile, Alabama, company due to her hairstyle.

According to the case file, Jeannie Wilson, who serves as a human resources manager for CMS, made remarks about Jones’ hairstyle during a private hiring meeting about scheduling conflicts. She reportedly told Jones, “they tend to get messy, although I’m not saying yours are, but you know what I’m talking about.”

Wilson told Jones the company wouldn’t hire her with dreadlocks, terminating the job offer.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit, claiming the move was a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII. It argued that dreadlocks are a “racial characteristic” that has been historically used to stereotype African-Americans. Therefore, claiming the style does not fit the company policy is inherently discriminatory as it plays off stereotypes that African-Americans with the style are “not team players” and are unfit for the workplace.


But the court of appeals disagreed. It ruled that CMS’s “race–neutral grooming policy” wasn’t discriminatory and that traits in a person’s appearance that are tied to their culture but are otherwise changeable were not protected.

In other words, a person can be denied a job offer based on their appearance if the issue is something that can be changed.

Courts have routinely interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as one that exclusively protects against “immutable characteristics,” not cultural practices.

In the case of Garcia v. Gloor, the courts ruled in favor of the defendants, saying they had a right to fire the plaintiff for speaking Spanish despite their employer’s English-only policy did not violate Title VII.

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Comment by Ella Walker on April 18, 2021 at 11:37am

With so many trendy boys haircuts to choose from, picking just one of these cool hairstyles to get can be a challenge.

Comment by Diana Louis on March 25, 2021 at 11:50am
Comment by Diana Louis on November 18, 2020 at 10:55pm

You can try out Think of the bald fade as a modern short back and sides. Fade is the word used to describe the seamless transition between shorter 

Comment by El-Bull on December 18, 2019 at 7:43pm

Danny Ortiz your father should have never penetrated your mother

Comment by Damien on December 18, 2019 at 4:18am

Personally, I consider this position of employer unfair. Here we are talking not only about the traditional culture of hairstyles but also about beauty. Women should have the right to choose a hairstyle that emphasizes her best features. However, even with such laws, you can choose something original short hairstyles for black women - These hairstyle options look very original, as for me.

Comment by Lu on March 10, 2019 at 6:35pm
This is not the platform for you Mr. Ortiz. Because you have no over standing of what the bingy bundles represent....get off
Comment by Danny Ortiz on March 10, 2019 at 6:14am

Dirty n***** hair... I would just marvel overseas at these niggas trying to comb that s***... I’m like, “the f*** for you know it’s pointless!”

Water don’t even penetrate that s***!

Comment by El-Bull on March 9, 2019 at 11:58pm

Fck off and go crawl back up into the rotten inbred hole you crawled out of and abort yourself @ DANNY ORTIZ ------and you're probably a fckn illegal anyhow 

Comment by El-Bull on March 9, 2019 at 11:54pm

Now you know what racism and oppression means, especially when they tell you black people are racist. ...

Comment by sergio b on March 4, 2019 at 11:45pm
Really Danny Ortiz? Most locks are not messy and the average black person has tightly coiled (“nappy” hair) . It is disgusting to think that hair tht naturally comes out of someone’s hair is deemed dirty by some people. There are people that have straight hair that can be “dirty “ as well. So called dirty hair is not exclusive only to women of color. Let this be a lesson to you and your reprehensible kind of people. Racism disrespect bigotry those things are disgusting....

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