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Employer Settles Federal Lawsuit Over Firing Woman for Wearing Natural Hair

Employer Settles Federal Lawsuit Over Firing Woman for Wearing Natural Hair

A Louisiana employer has reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

The case involved allegations from Imani Jackson, who claimed she was terminated shortly after opting to wear her natural hair to work, rather than a wig.

Jackson, an African American woman, initially wore a straight-haired wig when she was hired as a sales associate at American Screening LLC. 

However, she later chose to wear her natural hair, which led to criticism from her employer. Despite Jackson styling her hair in a “neat bun,” her employer reportedly deemed it “unacceptable.”

According to court documents cited by the Miami Herald, Jackson’s former employer requested her to continue wearing the wig. 

When she refused, citing discrimination, she was terminated two months later in October 2018. A white employee subsequently replaced her.

The lawsuit alleged that Jackson’s firing violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing racial discrimination. 

The court documents highlighted the employer’s comments regarding Jackson’s “4-A” curl pattern, commonly associated with Black people, as evidence of discriminatory behavior.

EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows emphasized the significance of the case, stating that employers cannot demand changes to an employee’s natural hair texture, akin to asking them to alter their skin color.

 She lamented that such discrimination persists, hindering employment opportunities for Black workers.

As part of the settlement, Jackson will receive $50,000 in compensation for her wrongful termination. 

Additionally, American Screening is required to implement new policies safeguarding employees’ rights to wear their natural hair.

This lawsuit adds to the broader movement against hair discrimination, which has gained traction with the enactment of the CROWN Act in various states.

 By resolving this legal dispute, strides are made in addressing biases against natural hair in the workplace.


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