A federal appeals court ruled that banning an employee from wearing dreadlocks is not racial discrimination. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Chastity Jones, a black woman in Alabama refused to cut off her locs as a condition of employment with an insurance company.
Essence.com reported, the EEOC argued the banning dreadlocks was racial discrimination. The EEOC proclaimed the “prohibition of dreadlocks in the workplace constitutes race discrimination because dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.”
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals did not agree with the EEOC’s argument. A portion of Judge Adalberto Jordan’s ruling supporting the company stated:
“We recognize that the distinction between immutable and mutable characteristics of race can sometimes be a fine (and difficult) one, but it is a line that courts have drawn. So, for example, discrimination on the basis of black hair texture (an immutable characteristic) is prohibited by Title seven, while adverse action on the basis of black hairstyle (a mutable choice) is not.”
Watch Roland Martin discuss the anti-locs ruling in the video clip above.