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Ensure your grooming policies are color blind

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Do you cut slack for some employees when enforcing your grooming policies? If so, there may be a race discrimination lawsuit in your future.

Recent case: Danielle, who is black, worked as a “visual stylist” at a Hol­lis­­ter clothing store in Manhattan. She sued, alleging management discriminated against her by ordering her to change her “light brown highlights” because it didn’t “fit the look policy.”

Her lawsuit alleged she was told she couldn’t return to work un­­less she changed her hair color. She claimed that women of other ethnicities were allowed to work with color-treated hair. That was enough for the court to allow Danielle’s discrimination case to move forward. (Russell v. Hol­­l­­is­­ter, et al., No. 13-CV-4273, SD NY 2014)

Final note: Hair and race is a hot topic these days. More and more black women are alleging they are held to unfair and unrealistic grooming standards.

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