Fired for Having Natural Hair!

by Jess of Sincerely Jess


I’m outraged. A good friend of mine’s job is in jeopardy because she chose to BC and grow out her natural hair. No, this picture isn’t my friend I’m respecting her privacy (well…a lil bit) but she has short hair like this, except more curly. Anyway, my friend’s–I’ll call her KC– boss is saying that it violates company policy because her hair is not “well groomed” and that patients (she works in a Dr. office) have been complaining. Her boss has been more than outrageous in her response to KC’s hair from the very beginning being vocally unsupportive, derogatory, and snide. Not that KC necessarily needed support from her boss, but who would have thought that such discrimination would come as the result of going natural.

I wonder how many of my other naturals have faced harsh reception in their place of work over their choice to go natural? I know in my place of employment, my coworkers, supervisors and really everybody in my building that has seen me has been fascinated by my curly journey. They touch my hair, question my process, and ask me tons of styling question. One coworker even started wearing her hair naturally as well, and now we often get mixed up.

In the black community, I’m constantly surprised at how we discriminate against one another. Now, with KC’s boss, she actually suggested (publicly, in front of patients and staff) that KC get a perm, put in weave, braids, etc and even offered to “find her a stylist” to which KC declined. I just would not know how to act if my boss was so actively concerned with my hair!!! Her boss is black, and I guess reading so many natural hair blogs I forget that not everyone is supportive or even tolerant of the natural hair movement. Being the psychotherapist (in training) that I am, I have to wonder what kind of self-hate this boss has going on that spurs her to act so cruelly.

It is a hard enough journey to learn to love your TWA, get used to the BC, and begin loving how you look without blow-in-the-wind relaxed hair. Then add on top of that someone in your life at least 40 hours a week telling you that you don’t look good or professional, telling you that there’s something wrong with your hair…its just discouraging and arouses all sorts of emotion in me. Have you guys had to deal with this sort of thing at work?? What did you do??

P.S. if you have been harassed at work because of your hair, check out the EEOC‘s discrimination complaint form. Natural community this is NOT okay, so speak up!!


74 Weigh in!:
Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised that the boss is a black woman? Yeah, I doubt anyone has been complaining about it. I have friends who got picked on at work by older black women with hair issues; they were never in a position to hire/fire them, they were just "advised" to change it. If it had been me, I'd have pointed out that the white people who interviewed and hired me with it clearly couldn't be too bothered by it (b/c in both situations, these were highly competitive, selective, and pretty elite jobs). In my experience, white people and non-black people could care less.
So this is just a reminder to the people who claim that society is intolerant when the bulk of intolerance and inappropriate behavior comes from our own people.

Sharmer said...

Unbelievable! That is completely outrageous! There has tobe some kind of legal action that can be taken because that is completsly ignorant and unacceptable.

Sherri said...

OMG!! I know it's easier said then done, but your friend should seek another place of employment. In this job market I know that can be a daunting task, but her boss sounds like an a-hole! I work in a firm with all Caucasians. One day I just walked in with an afro after my bc. Everyone loved it and no one has uttered a word since. Why do we as black women tear each other down so much?! I can't take it.

LaMaraVilla said...

Well how is she wearing her hair to work? Not all styles are work appropriate . . . especially if you are working in a conservative environment. Is how she wears her hair worth possibly losing her job? Maybe it's just me, but I'm willing to wear a wig to work until my hair grows out some if that means keeping my job.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again...Have your friend get in touch with Pamela Ferrell: she knows a lot on this subject. There have been suits filed and WON on this issue so she should not give up.
Thanks for sharing this.

CurlyLadyP said...

I agree with the comment above....i have gotten countless "I just ate a lemon" looks from majority of black women....and I get nothing but acceptance from every other race.

Let's call it what it is IGNORANCE...a lack of knowledge or just not wanting to know and as a result instead of encouraging her fellow sister and being happy for another person she'd rather tear the person down. smh.....

Anonymous said...

It is very sad to hear this, but let me tell you, your friend should seek legal advice. She shouldn't have to change her looks, just because the boss don't like it. Patients complaining? that's BS. Seek legal advise and sue her and the office if they fire you. You'll win because she's harass you in public, you have witnesses.

cami said...

I knew her boss was black. Sad, but true. And,I'll guess the boss is at least 40. Hmph. Of course there will unfortunately be discrimination once there is ignorance present. The boss is ignorant. She clearly has self-worth, self-esteem issues, etc. that she hasn't dealt with and felt like lashing out on the lady with the natural hair, unapologetically because she is her subordinate.

b. said...

LaMaraVilla, I concur that there are some styles that are not work appropriate. However, there are some ppl who will not be satisfied no matter how neat someone's hair is -- if it's not straight.

Anonymous said...

While being natural is a wonderful personal experience, we must be careful that we do not allow a personal journey to become professional hindrance. Let me explain. I've been transitioning for 4 months. As a new transitioner, I've been monitoring blogs, videos...anything I can get my hands on. A lot of women have cute hair styles, many of which are appropriate for a corporate or professional environment. Some have haristyles that are funky and fun, but do not belong in the work place. Not all natural styles are professional, just like not all relaxed styles are professional. Some of us - natural or relaxed - need to pick up a comb. Let's be real....I know I'm not the only one who has seen styles in pictures and videos that were supposed to be finished looks that were a hot, ugly, no-she-didn't, mess!
I'm getting the impression as I learn about being natural, that a lot of women with natural hair (at least on the blogs) assume the world should embrace their naturalness with the same enthusiasm as they do. The fact is, not a whole lot'a people care about your hair or your journey or how free you feel now that you've rejected relaxers or texturizers or what ever it was that kept you bound - and they don't have to - it's a personal thing. A boss wants employees to look professional. I don't know your friend or her boss, but it would be interesting to see a picture of her hair and hear her boss' side of the story.
If her boss is just being discriminatory, then there are definitely steps she can take to remedy the situation.

theaccidentalnatural said...

The first thing I said is, "I wonder if her boss is black."

Sigh. It has been my experience that black people are the ones with issues about natural hair. Other people couldn't care too much one way or the other. As long as her hair is neat and professional, her boss has no reason to complain. It's just ignorance. SMH.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing as anonymous 3:48...here we go again! Perhaps your friend's TWA is a constant reminder to her boss which the she is not ready to embrace. It sounds like the boss has all types of personal issues with natural hair specifically her own and seeing your friend every day may be a thorn in her side. Who is to say that her views will change anytime soon? I suggest your friend seek legal counsel to cover her bases and attempt to have a sit down with her boss to discuss what she is or is not willing to do with her hair in the workplace.

Sarah said...

as stated in the very beginning of the article, KC has a curly TWA, just big chopped, so i'm sure it wasn't an inappropriate style, since her style options are probably limited.

also, since they work in a hospital, how one wears their hair should be the LAST thing on anyone's mind.

Anonymous said...

In the first paragraph she says her friend has her hair short similar to the picture, just curlier so it's clearly not a style issue.

It is on the other had completely inappropriate and I also am not surprised her boss is a black woman, as sad as I am to say that.

"it's not well groomed" obviously means "it's not how I want it to be" and that's not something that can be enforced anywhere. Just tell your friend to look into her workplace rights and get some legal advise just in case. Document all the instances, dates, times, locations etc etc and anything else including recent evaluations, whatever that would possibly support a wrongful termination if it comes down to it, and then just be prepared.

Keep doing the work to the best of your ability and maybe look into something else. You can change someone's attitude so knowing your rights and being proactive is gonna be your best defense.

RoSi said...

patients are complaining about her hair??? yeah right, gimme a break.

Kristen said...

I am not surprised that this woman's boss is a black woman. I have noticed that when a person gets in trouble at their job for their natural hair style, it's usually a black woman that is the boss, this is so sad.

I do not believe patients were complaining, I think the boss just made that up to make the employee feel bad. Her hair should not be a problem, especially in a hospital.

LaMaraVilla said...

TWA or not, it can still look unprofessional. Take the pic featured with this article. I happen to think it looks unprofessional and wouldn't wear my hair like that to work. Also the kind of accessories you use can really make or break a hairstyle. I'm not willing to side with the friend or boss without any pics lol.

LaMaraVilla said...

ALSO . . . . If the company has an enforceable dress code then they most certainly can complain about how she wears her hair and take action if she is breaking the dress code. Again I would like to make a disclaimer that I am not taking sides in this issue, but there are multiples sides to every story. lol

Anonymous said...

Please stop making excuses for discrimination. The boss has a problem with a part of your body? Seriously? Does she demand curly haired white women to straighten their hair? I doubt it. Are black males instructed to "get a perm" because their hair is not groomed? I doubt it. Is their a hair length and texture requirement written somewhere in company policy? I doubt it. If you find yourself in this position, document everything yourself with time and dates and ask them to put their complaint against you in writing for your lawyer. Take pictures of your hair and the hair of those working around you if you can. You may want to keep that job, but they obviously don't want to keep you. At least make it harder for them to demean the next employee.

Divafied Mama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am not surprised that the boss is black. I think women of a certain age group have a hard time with natural hair. I am wondering how old the boss is? My mother who is in her sixties says that the movement with black women in the work place is very sentive to hair. Mainly because women for decades were told that our natural hair was ugly and that we would not be able to get jobs back in the 70's. Therefore, some feel like we are setting ourselves back by going natural. I don't agree, but I do know that notion is still lingering with in the black community. I am not suggesting that it is right, but that people have not grown emotionally. We have a long way to go, but the only thing we can do is keep educating and supporting eachother. Also, the girl that is being discriminated should educate her boss about the chemicals in perms and how harmful it is to our bodies. Hence, she is in the medical field that is so disturbing...I could go on and on but I need to stop because I am getting upset. Encourage eachother and stay blessed!

Kiianah said...

Every time I hear something like this, it makes me wanna SCREEEEAAAAMMM!!! What is wrong with people and why is NATURAL hair not considered as "well groomed"! This is the hair that God has given us, that grown out from our scalp and because we choose not to conform to society's "standards of beauty," it's considered as offensive and unkept???? This just pisses (excuse the language) me off to the 6th power. Ladies please; it's time to take a stand. Stop allowing society and the Caucasian American to determine what is beautiful for us. Someone had to have known the day would come when we began to wake up and realize that we are KILLING ourselves trying to love by the white man's standards. You don't see them putting the creamy crack in their heads to attain a standard of beauty.

@LaMaraVilla Can you please explain to me what is so "unprofessional" looking about the beauty in the feature picture? Is it because she looks more cultural with her natural hair that grows from her scalp? More black? What is it with people that I'm missing? I'm sitting at work right now ROCKIN my TWA fro! And I DARE someone call me in the office and tell me my hair does not adhere to company standards, I will slap a lawsuit on their ass I will OWN that company. What happened to the days of FIGHTING for what you believe in? Fighting for EQUAL rights? So, you're telling me that I MUST jeopardize my health, the state of my hair and my self-acceptance in order to hold a job, LMAO the world we live in. And it's women such as LaMaraVilla that are making it harder for us to allow the world to accept us, black and with our beautiful NAPPY hair!

Kiianah said...

@LaMaraVilla... Another thing real quick. How is that is the company has an enforceable dress code that they can say that by her wearing her hair natural that she does not adhere to company policies? Does the policy say that "under no circumstances is nappy hair allowed on comapny grounds?" Unless stated, I think thats grounds for a lawsuit. My 2 cent ;)

Jess said...

Thank you Nikki for the post, and thanks everyone for your comments! My friend has been encouraged to seek legal counsel, and also to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for racial discrimination. The law clearly states: ace discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features) (Per the EEOC website). Right now her hair is simply a short, curly TWA-its not long enough to do much with so she usually wears headbands or just the TWA.

I definitely understand that not all styles may be considered appropriate, and so does KC. When she spoke with her boss, she was told specifically that the natural hair look was not professional and that she should perm it or wear a weave or braids until it was long enough to straighten. That is what I find completely unacceptable and has me so outraged.

As of this afternoon my friend was suspended from her position and told she could return Monday, my question to her is what is going to change by then? She can't magically grow inches of hair in a matter of days. Our guess is that her boss thinks she will press it out, or perm it or something just to keep her job.

Anonymous said...

This is my biggest worry about being natural because a lot of Black women who wear their hair relaxed always have something bad to say about a black woman who choses to wear their hair natural. e.g. (She needs a perm or her hair looks terrible). When other races love to see our hair natural because most of us have covered it up for soo long that people from other ethnic backgrounds don't know what our hair is supposed to look like.Her boss should be supportive and respect her choice. That's why we are so apart as a people because there are soo many sisters who would rather hate on another sister than congratulate them.

Tasha said...

@LaMaraVilla, you say you're wearing a wig to work until your hair grows out some. Are you saying that length has anything to do with professionalism? In your opinion, can a TWA be rocked professionally? And if you think it can, what is really preventing you from rocking one professionally? Do you HAVE to wear a wig at this poing to keep your job? Just curious.

julia said...

The first thing I thought when I was reading this was "Oh HELL NO!" the second was "her boss must be a black woman."

sad, sad, sad.

This is completely outrageous, and, unless her boss is the CEO, talk her someone higher up AND file a formal complaint with HR.

Tasha said...

Correction to my previous comment: I meant at this POINT?

Anonymous said...

I understand where LaraMavilla might be coming from. After all, if you are unemployed hair is the least of your worries!! However, in this case it's discrimination. If the hair is just short, how is that unprofessional, so long as it's neat?
We all have to be careful of yielding too much to please others or you lose yourself in the process. That the woman in question has been suspended is shocking to me!! Who knows the boss might have had an axe to grind with her and the hair is just a scapegoat?! SMH....

LaMaraVilla said...

:rolls eyes: Sure Kiianah, I'm hindering the entire black race with my opinion lol. I work in a corporate environment, so no, wearing my hair in that state, like the pic, would not be suitable. It looks unkempt to me. My opinion, disagree if you wish. It looks like she rolled out of bed and did nothing to her head. I am natural myself, but seeing as I mostly protective style during the week my hair has never posed a problem for me; but you cannot wear your hair however you wish at your place of employment. Just like if you were a heavily busty woman, you can't wear certain items of clothing and still maintain a professional look.

The fact that the boss is requiring that she have straight hair is a whole other issue, now that IS discrimination. Natural hair can be professional. Hopefully your friend has a favorable outcome in this situation Jess.

*scampers off to spread her negative views in order to prevent the world from accepting natural women* LMAO!

Anonymous said...

Kiianah
From a legal standpoint, you make an excellent point. Any employer, especially in a private medical office, should have an employee manual which is provided to any employee when they first start on the job- or even beforehand. The employee is asked to read through the manual and then sign a statement agreeing to the fact that they have been informed of the rules of attire for that place of employment. Natural hair ( like having brown eyes, blue eyes, or genetically straight hair ), in and of itself, would not fall within the realm of an infraction of any reasonable attire rule. If, however, the natural hair is unkempt, poorly groomed, an overt distraction (in a reasonable way), AND this could be proven, the employer does have grounds for "writing her up". I would suggest that this employee start keeping a written papertrail of what her hair looks like when she goes to work and any/all comments that are made to her about it. She may have grounds for an employment discrimination lawsuit and/or harassment.
He boss' personal preferences are irrelevant ONLY if they create the scenario outlined above. In addition, her boss , depending on the type of clientele she serves and the type of medical practice she has/seeks to have, may be concerned that this employee's styling choices could possibly be a deterrent to achieving that. I'm not saying this is right, but it is the perceived reality of many black professionals in regards to the arena that they have to navigate. Even in 2010. Sad, but true.

brunttefury said...

Yeah, this is grounds for a lawsuit.

I've never heard of short natural hair being deemed unprofessional in a working environment such as a hospital/children's hospital/nursing home/care center/nada. I've seen many natural-haired nurses. This sounds like completely BS to me.

If this woman had cancer and lost her hair, then had no other choice but to grow it out/wear it short, would it still be considered "unprofessional"? Are white women with short curly hair "unprofessional"?

LaMaraVilla said...

@Tasha. You misunderstood my previous comment. I have had a twa myself. Several times in fact. I've cut my hair into a fade on 3 different occasions. The last time I did this I was working in a corporate environment and I was able to style it in a manner that I felt was neat and professional. My bosses never complained and I was happy with my hair. I never wore a wig because I was able to style my hair well. But if I wasn't knowledgeable on how to style my hair then trust I would have worn a wig.

Anonymous said...

She should put on a wig, with a taperecorder underneath, go back to work on Monday and get the boss going in a conversation about natural hair. Let her spill her guts while the tapecorder rolls under her straight, long wig.
After the boss has told her tale, pull the wig off and let her know its Judge Joe Brown time!
LOL

Anonymous said...

I am completely outraged!!!! Your friend needs to keep documentation of everything that has been happening. She is being discriminated against. What makes it worse is that it is someone from her own race. How can we expect other races to educate themselves and appreciate our cultural differences if our own race is ignorant in that aspect?

Anonymous said...

Go public. If this is her opinion she shouldn't have a problem voicing it to everyone that she knows. Tell the media, newspaper and whoever will listen. I bet when her business is affected she will then think twice about what she allows to part her lips. People that are there for healthcare and not hair care. I'm sure, "Wow KC cut her hair" and her bosses negative comments thereafter could easily equate to people complaining...People=the boss. I think we have to be very careful and mindful what we choose to say about other people. God has a way of showing people just who He is. He does not like ugly and regardless of how we choose to wear our hair, we still deserve a certain level of respect. Let's not get it twisted just because she is black by no means says that she is going to accept it. Let's face it, another black woman can be a sista's worst nightmare.I don't see anyone telling a white girl to go blonde just because the boss doesnt like brunettes. We have to realize that no, black, white, asian or otherwise is going to respect us if we openly disrespect one another. I will leave you with this, my cousin and I always admired in high school how most white girls no matter what and no matter who would take up for their friends. Us as black women will sit around and chime in just for the sake of having something to say. We need to lift each other up. Heck if you don't like it, you don't have to wear it, but don't knock someone else because they do!!! Geez. Get off the GAS!

CH

Anonymous said...

This is horrible! I knew her boss was a black woman and that is a shame. We seem to be the hardest on ourselves. I've never personally experienced anything like this in my workplace which is corporate but if I did, I would definately be taking action. Please don't alter your hair for a j-o-b! I hope she fights for her rights, because she does have them.

Anonymous said...

@LaMaraVilla, you seem a little bit disturbed or just seeking or needing some attention today. The girl in the picture looks a lot like some of the models that are featured in alot of well known magazines today as well as commericials. Post a picture of yourself sister and let us judge exactly how you miss high and mighty look. Just because you choose to conform does not make it right and it definitely doesn't make you self assured. Go somewhere else with that mess, because truth be told sounds like you are someone that would have been right there with her boss making the same ignorant comments!!! Please!
TT

socialitedreams said...

sooooooooo saw that coming that the boss was black! every single last white person that I've met with my natural hair who has commented on it has said how pretty, cool, fun, gorgeous it is. never one bad word....my managers at work all call me cute as a button.

You'd think that at a hospital, they'd be more worried about, ya know, people dying instead of if someone has a short haircut...if her short hair was permed and a keri hilson/rihanna type style would that be a problem too? just wondering

i know that there are some funkkkky natural hair styles, but a curly twa isn't one of them!

Vonnie
http://www.socialitedreams.com/

Anonymous said...

A neat, well groomed TWA would be the optimal hairstyle for ANYONE working in a hospital, as healthcare standard attire requires that hair be worn off of and away from the face in a manner which will not allow it to fall into the field of vision or procedure field. A TWA is the the only style (aside from being bald) I can think of which automatically and naturally (no pun intended) meets that standard without requiring a styling tool to assist (i.e bobby pin, headband, hairnet, etc.) She should fight this on those grounds and bring this to a whole new level. I can just see it now, white healthcare workers will be tryng to curly perm and cut their hair to meet the standard. LOL

LaMaraVilla said...

@anon 6:28 I don't need to post pics as my hair isn't the one in question. And if you think that a hairstyle that a model wears in a magazine means it makes it suitable to wear to work then you my dear are sadly mistaken.

As for seeking attention or being disturbed . . . kick rocks B, lol. I don't see anything that was "high and mighty" about my comments. And I most certainly will not go somewhere else. I am free to participate in this discussion, as are the rest of you :)

Anonymous said...

and now, ladies, we have a drive-by on CurlyNikki.com

Anonymous said...

WOW! I have actually had managers, etc. compliment me on my hair. As for co-workers, I have had a Caucasion female make ugly comments about my hair or someone's hair like mine, but she wasn't talking to me so I didn't respond.

All I can say is stay true to yourself and pray! Because evidently they have some issues that need addressing.

Anonymous said...

@ LaMaraVilla

Please share your styling tips for a professional TWA. I'm just curious about what you do that makes it different.

SweetThang said...

I knew it. I knew that her boss was a black woman. It is a crying shame that the biggest critics of natural hair are other black people. The very people that have the same kinks growing out of their scalps that we have growing out of ours. Even though they are using the creamy crack and faking the funk. I smell a lawsuit coming on.

LaMaraVilla, is it really necessary to get a stank attitude with everybody just because they don't agree with your point of view on this topic. When you come with an opinion that is different from everyone else's, expect that they are going to challenge you. Is it really necessary to tell someone to kick rocks and call them a B. Because I know what you mean by "B". People can say all kinds of things being anonymous on the internet. I know that you wouldn't have said that if you were standing directly in front of that person's face.

I'm going to wait with my popcorn so I see how Anonymous @ 6:28 responds to this.

PinkGirlFluff said...

Your friend is in my prayers! I happen to think the model's hair is beautiful and if your friend's hair is as beautiful, I don't see what the problem is with her boss. That's just my personal opinion. The TWA stage is such an awesome stage in the natural hair journey. At least it has been for me. It really brings out a person's beautiful facial features.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe this is happening! How in the worl can your boss MAKE YOU STRAIGHTEN YOUR HAIR!!!!!!!!!!This is outrageous!! Its a twa what is there to complain about?Now I have seen some hairstyles that are inappropiate for work in a hospital but a twa is not one of them in my opinion.I hope she fight this case and wins!! This is terrible!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can understand this type of attitude, having come across it myself. I am not surprised at all. I myself have been discriminated against with trying to get a job because of my natural hair. I have gone on numerous job interviews and have been turned down for crazy reasons like "I would not fit in, with the companies culture". I would wait and go back an interview again with the same company months later if the position would be available and wear a wig to the interview and was offered the job. I don't even know if they realized that I was the same person, but I would turn the job down. A job cannot require you to straighten your hair. I made a complaint at the better business bureau regarding the treatment. If the friend gets fired I would sue the HELL out of that company! They have no right and it's a serious form of discrimination.

drmsd said...

No need for the hostility, Ladies. Let's keep it respectful as we are guests in CurlyNikki's "house".

This is most certainly discrimination. And put me down as another one in the "not surprised that the boss is a black woman" camp.

Ms. Sassy said...

Can someone say discrimination case!? Sad that even we don't accept our hair in its natural state....smh

Anonymous said...

@ LaMaraVilla
Exactly just as she wouldn't tell me my hair was nappy to my face. And how coward of you to even say that. You don't me know me to know what I am. But that further displays your ignorance because surely have more than those type of words in your vocabulary. Being that you have so much to say and so many suggestions, it shouldnt be an issue for you to tell us, show us what you are talking about. We are always up for tips and pointers but more so in the visual sense so that we know EXACTLY what you are trying to sell here. Anything that I choose to become, "natural" and "B" or whatever else I will be the best at it. And of course I will kick rocks, the ones you threw and then hide your hands behind your back. The fact of the matter is, TWA, it is what it is, how can you possibly make it anything otherwise? This is a free country. Your black behind came here nappy headed so how are you going to allow someone to disrespect you and tell you that it is unacceptable. I suggest you drop on those rusty knees and pray. This goes well beyond being well groomed. It's about that black woman taking the place of that white man and telling her she can't drink out of that water fountain and to take her tired behind to the back of the bus!

Anonymous said...

yeah, i am not at all surprised that her friend's boss is black. it is, after all, other blacks who give naturals the most grief about being their hair. as someone who has worked in the healthcare profession for quite some while, the friend's boss is telling a big fat lie about patients complaining about her hair. a patient is there to be taken care of, not to critique one's hair choices. the friend needs to seek legal counsel stat.

Anonymous said...

I agree with LaMaraVilla to an extent not all natural styles are suitable for some work places. BUT, I am not surprised it is a sister that is giving her crap! I live in a conservative city and work in a VERY conservative office and that stuff still wouldn't fly with me. We(black folks) sometimes are like crabs in a bucket. We wonder why it is we can't get along with each other it is because some of us don't know how to treat people with basic respect(also that manager don't know the proper way to address her employee you don't disrespect your employee and expect the problem to go away). Cuz, if the boss had any grounds to fire her she doesn't now because of the comments that she made about her employee's hair(now all she has is law suit stuff). This is unprofessional and not acceptable (I would recommend recording the bosses comments from now on for future use). Maybe if the boss ask her to pin her hair up or put something on it. But the whole hair stylist comment crap and other things NOT PROFESSIONAL! I would probably wear a wig or do something different but to be honest I would tell my boss I don't like the disrespect and bide my time until I found another job. Fight the good fight and get out of there. It is not worth ones time to work where they are not respected!

ThatOneAKA said...

quick question for the poster....is KC's boss the office manager or the doctor who practices? The rationale for my question is that she may need to go above her manager/supervisor's head and go to the docs. IF they don't have a problem with it, then the office manager should not. And I say this as a healthcare provider who works in a busy ER and rocks every thing from a 'fro to twists to twist outs, big hair to more shrunken hair proudly. Most of the docs, nurses and patients that I see say positive things about my hair (even on the days I feel like its a bad hair day)!

Anonymous said...

I say speak up, go to someone higher than your boss and speak to them. There are services ( if you work in a physicians office or hospital ) that help with harassment or subordination in a non-confronting manner this is never OK. I am a physician and there are a lot of blacks who work in my hospital with short hair. Even more shorter than your friends that work in my office . I think this is personal. As long you hair is neat no one really cares. This may be happening because your boss is black I think if you were working in a white predominate office no one would really care. The patients never criticize you for your hair they have bigger problems to deal with. They would only care if you are not nice and have no manners. This shows we still have not yet come to accept ourselves as who we are. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but people need to start taking this sort of discrimination to EEOC and ACLU and take LEGAL ACTION. Period. It doesn't matter if her boss is black just like her it's still discrimination and lawsuits need to be held. If a white person was her boss and told her she needs a wig, a weave or a perm, same grounds. Discrimination is discrimination and naturals need to start fighting back. If I wee in her place you better believe that I would've contacted ACLU first thing!

Jeannette said...

Just the mere fact that she is being spoken to that way is subject to legal action, which the friend should take. I am a freelance grant writer, therefore, I am my own boss. However, I work for clients and presently have one in real estate. I wear my hair in a variety of styles such as twists, braids, pony-tale etc. although the picture shown above is not the most 'corporate' style, it is also not unprofessional. It would not be my first choice at all. You can always dress up a TWA with hair accessories. I find it interesting because a Black Female news anchor in Florida now has a twa while reporting the news and it looks just like the model in the picture. She is also getting rave reviews, so to each his own. Like I said before, she needs to seek legal counsel because she doesn't go to work so that she can be harassed. She also needs to document/journal her daily activities and the things that were said at work for legal purposes.

Jeannette said...

@Jess...keep us posted! I can't speak for everyone on this board but I personally would like to know the outcome of your friends circumstance. Good luck to her, I'm rooting for her!

Micaiahty said...

I have a friend who was told that her hair was a distraction. Her boss (who is a black female) would take her off projects because of this. It got so bad that my friend ended up getting a relaxer. Her hair was really thick so she would wear it in twist, really nice, neat twist, but it still wasn't enough to satisfy her boss.

When she came to my office and I saw that her hair was straight, I just assumed she flat ironed or pressed it out. When she told me that she permed her hair I was shocked. She stated that it was just easier to deal with. We both work for the same company, and pretty much do the same type of job. (Company presenters)
There must be some kind of legal action that can be done for someone to pretty much bully you about your hair. We have managers (in high positions) that have locks and natural hair WAY bigger than both myself and my friend's hair.

I just find it crazy that someone can do that to someone else simply because it is something that THEY are not fond of. Although our company policy never stated anything about hair, for someone to prevent you from moving up the corporate ladder simply because of your hair is way out of line.

Anonymous said...

"December 9, 2010 2:14 AM
Jeannette said...
@Jess...keep us posted! I can't speak for everyone on this board but I personally would like to know the outcome of your friends circumstance. Good luck to her, I'm rooting for her!" I wish your friend good luck too. Please keep us posted.

Rayna said...

I'm in the 11th month of my transition, and I initially had some concerns about how my natural hair would be viewed in the workplace once I am completely natural. It does help that there are a lot of naturals that work in my building, so that makes me feel better about my decision to go natural. I have gotten to the point in which I am more concerned about the health of my hair than about how other people view me. My aunt has worn her hair natural for years, and I am really proud of her for not giving into pressure to start straightening her hair again. It makes me wonder if natural hair will ever fully be accepted, especially within the black community. I know black people (young and old) who have said hurtful things about people who choose to wear their hair natural.

KC said...

Wow...I am truly moved by all of these responses I have read. Jess told me that it was a lot, but I wasn't expecting so much. For many different reasons...I am going to respond to this post anonymously. I am KC *I will keep the same name that Dubb named me in the article*, currently on suspension from my job. My hair does look exactly like the picture that is posted above. There are, of course, deeper issues than just this that I have given into and just decided to take and this was just the icing on the cake. I work in an at-will state and therefore no one needs a reason to fire me. She could very well decide tomorrow that she no longer wants to employ me and say that is because of the fact that my schedule will be changing due to me going back to school. Of course I actually have the written documentation of everything that was said in regards to my hair and my response and everything. I first cut my hair back in June and it did not become an issue until the end of October. Honestly, she did show that she was angry about the fact that I cut all my hair off, and the first day said "Am I going to have to pay to get you some weave?" This is why I am seeing this more as a personal attack instead of not being in violation of policy like she says. If I were in violation then I was in violation back in June. Also, I feel that if I am in violation then so are others at the job who have "unkempt" hair daily. But, the professional thing for me to do was to not address others, but stick to simply the issue at hand, me. So I did. There is no HR at my job. She is the final say so, being that she owns the practice. I will be speaking with a lawyer friend to see exactly what the law has to say about the entire situation as a whole. I have been searching for other employment for a while now and about a month ago began the search again, but more aggressively this time. I am to return to work on Monday and come back with a better solution to the problem...which I am not seeing. There is a good chance I will be unemployed soon, but I'm ok with it. I have prayed and am at peace with my decision to stand my ground. I want to thank all of you for your support!!

@LaMaraVilla funny, "it looks like she rolled out of bed and did nothing to it" is exactly what my boss said. I will respectfully disagree with you just like I did with my boss. Having natural hair I'm sure you know that if I had simply rolled out of bed then my hair would more than likely be matted to my head. Therefore, I do the style on purpose. My boss said "There is no way that you saw that style in a magazine or anywhere and no way anyone thinks it's cute". See, her personal opinion...which of course in my situation actually DOES matter. I get it all, I just can't bring myself to continually give in to her. She is the type that needs to control something. This is actually so much deeper than just the hair, but I have to stand my ground and honestly if it were that she genuinely were coming to me saying that I am in violation because it looks unkempt, then I actually MIGHT have been more likely to compromise. But the way that it all came about just doesn't fly with me. Thank you for your input!

KC said...

Wow...I am truly moved by all of these responses I have read. Jess told me that it was a lot, but I wasn't expecting so much. For many different reasons...I am going to respond to this post anonymously. I am KC *I will keep the same name that Dubb named me in the article*, currently on suspension from my job. My hair does look exactly like the picture that is posted above. There are, of course, deeper issues than just this that I have given into and just decided to take and this was just the icing on the cake. I work in an at-will state and therefore no one needs a reason to fire me. She could very well decide tomorrow that she no longer wants to employ me and say that is because of the fact that my schedule will be changing due to me going back to school. Of course I actually have the written documentation of everything that was said in regards to my hair and my response and everything. I first cut my hair back in June and it did not become an issue until the end of October. Honestly, she did show that she was angry about the fact that I cut all my hair off, and the first day said "Am I going to have to pay to get you some weave?" This is why I am seeing this more as a personal attack instead of not being in violation of policy like she says. If I were in violation then I was in violation back in June. Also, I feel that if I am in violation then so are others at the job who have "unkempt" hair daily. But, the professional thing for me to do was to not address others, but stick to simply the issue at hand, me. So I did. There is no HR at my job. She is the final say so, being that she owns the practice. I will be speaking with a lawyer friend to see exactly what the law has to say about the entire situation as a whole. I have been searching for other employment for a while now and about a month ago began the search again, but more aggressively this time. I am to return to work on Monday and come back with a better solution to the problem...which I am not seeing. There is a good chance I will be unemployed soon, but I'm ok with it. I have prayed and am at peace with my decision to stand my ground. I want to thank all of you for your support!!

KC said...

@LaMaraVilla funny, "it looks like she rolled out of bed and did nothing to it" is exactly what my boss said. I will respectfully disagree with you just like I did with my boss. Having natural hair I'm sure you know that if I had simply rolled out of bed then my hair would more than likely be matted to my head. Therefore, I do the style on purpose. My boss said "There is no way that you saw that style in a magazine or anywhere and no way anyone thinks it's cute". See, her personal opinion...which of course in my situation actually DOES matter. I get it all, I just can't bring myself to continually give in to her. She is the type that needs to control something. This is actually so much deeper than just the hair, but I have to stand my ground and honestly if it were that she genuinely were coming to me saying that I am in violation because it looks unkempt, then I actually MIGHT have been more likely to compromise. But the way that it all came about just doesn't fly with me. Thank you for your input!

EbonyPearl said...

It's the boss's personal preference in this case because I bet if her hair was longer, the boss would still have a problem with it. I went through that, but in a predominately white company, where I knew my hair - no matter how 'neat' and professional the styles I wore were, the fact that it was big curly hair just turned people off - and I have no problem with that, but it affected my career advancement (and I KNOW this) and when I think about it today it still pisses me off. I can remember the times when I would press my hair, how all of a sudden I was a star and invited to new business meetings to participate in pitches and other projects, but when I was big and curly, folks couldn't handle it and I spent 2 years watching people I trained become people I would end up reporting to. This happened in my early 20s, and at the time I truly believe that my bosses didn't realize that I noticed the change in behavior toward me based on my hairstyle, but at one point I sure did mention it in one of my performance reviews.

Unfortunately, when you are not working for yourself, you end up playing the game and sometimes compromising personal style - even when it's professional looking (and unfortunately, for some people, professional=straight hair)

Anonymous said...

@KC , thank you for posting your thoughts. Hope everything goes well and your boss gets fired, replaced, or you find an even better situation!

SweetThang said...

KC, I feel you. I would have to compromise, too. I would have a meeting with the boss. I would ask if this particular style is not professional enough for the workplace, can you suggest some hairstyles that don't require chemical or heat that are more professional.

Also, when you start asking for money, people tend to shut up real quick. Okay since you insist that my hair be straightened, could you pay me a hair allowance? (similar to a clothing allowance) So that I can go to the salon and maintain my straight style.

Since I have to get a toxic chemical applied to my hair every several weeks to maintain my straight style, are you going to compensate me for the damage that this chemical is doing to my hair? Will I be compensated should this chemical give me any long term health affects? Ask these questions and boss lady will be stumbling and stuttering.

Anonymous said...

Honey, I work in the insurance field and almost all licensed doctors have malpractice insurance and under that umbrella that is a coverage call Employment practices liability. You just make a complaint and you will be running to the back. I work with nothing but dentists and we see claims everyday about harrassment related to attire, personal appearance, being hit on etc. Go forward with you claims, because your boss only wants you to quit, which in this economy is crazy. Most of our dentists settle for around $75,000 up to $100,000 for the emotional distress and unprofessional behavior.

Anonymous said...

I work in Corporate America, as well. However, I see nothing unprofessional about a well-groomed TWA, especially the one in question (as it was described). I do agree that it is one of two things: either her boss is one of those black people who hate natural hair, or they are just looking for a reason to fire KC. I seriously doubt that people are complaining. That doesn't even make sense. She needs to have a talk with her boss AND HR (maybe separately at first and then together later, if necessary). Unless they have specific, cited and documented complaints, then they don't have much of a leg to stand on.

On a different note, though I really don't want to be a part of the drama, I thought I would point out that "B" does not always mean "b***h". With people in their 20s and very early 30s in certain areas of the country, it is just a commonly used term reference for a person that originally started out as a term between men meaning "brother". It has been adopted by both men and women to refer to both men and women and is used in casual conversation. People use this saying when they are both happy and mad, just because they are used to saying it in casual conversation.

Now that the urban dictionary lesson is over (LOL @ myself), LaMaraVilla may not have been calling you a "b***h" (I don't know if she was or wasn't). Being in the college ministry as well, I hear "b" used everyday and not in reference to "b***h". That is what I thought when I read her post. It is my HOPE that this is what she meant. Anything else would be inappropriate.

Anyway, my inner peacemaker thought I should probably say this JUST IN CASE this is what she meant. I don't agree with every opinion posted, but everyone is entitled to one. We should RESPECT each other, even if we do not agree.

Miss Tasha said...

Thankfully I have not experienced this, but this is extremely sad. I'm really at a loss for words.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised, but angered. How dare her boss question her hair period. I hope the woman sues her ignorant boss....Since going natural, about 4 years ago. All races have given my compliments, respect as well as kudos on my hair....except some African-American women....similar to the boss mentioned in this story..Stay natural & proud.

Anonymous said...

What a blickity blank! That's horrible.

In my professional experience, I've had both ends of the spectrum. I've never had a perm but always feel out a job to determine how curly I can get. I usually straighten for interviews, start wearing a tight bun early, then ponytail, and have usually tried wearing my hair down for the first time on casual Friday. On one job, a senior colleague made a comment about being so casual I looked like I just escaped the amazon. On my current job, where I'm the only black, I got tons of compliments on that first Friday. The next time I wore a bun, my boss (white and very blond), her colleagues (all white men and women), and I were chatting and it somehow launched into a lecture to me on how harmful ponytails are to my hair and how my hair is so beautiful out...why do I put it up? Obviously, I couldn't say because I didn't know if my natural self would offend them :).

A few weeks later, I flat ironed my hair for an external meeting. Many commented that they didn't realize how long my hair is and my boss was super concerned that I'd done something to make the "curls go away forever."

In my experience, those (black, white, or other)that have something negative to say about my hair usually are not the best coworkers or bosses anyway and find lots of ways to be professional disrespectful or spiteful. On the other hand, those that love my hair usually create a better environment with respect to work in anyway.

So, whether she decides to sue or not, chances are she'll eventually end up in an environment that celebrates her professionalism and unique packaging. Unfortunately, she just caught an extreme end of the spectrum on this job but he may have did her favor because I can't imagine he's a joy to work with otherwise.

Missy said...

I go to interviews and see how the people look at me with a shocked face when I come in and of course I don't get the job. They like my resumes, in emails sound so ready to hire me, but when they see me, everything changes. I do not like the office environment because not conducive for creative and free spirited people like myself.

Marva said...

I'm black with natural curly hair for over 10 years. I'm also a healthcare professional who see MANY of my black co-workers with hair of multicolor s, long dreads unkempt. I think most of them are inappropriate. I usually use a little headband to hold my hair in place and make it neat. My white coworkers are NOT allowed to wear their hair long/hanging. They have to pin it up. So I would love to see your friend's hair to make a fair judgement. Firing is way too drastic a step to take. She should get legal council. Marva

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