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Dreadlock Ban Isn’t Discrimination; Court Rejects Govt. Claim of “Racial Distinctions in the Natural Texture of Black and Non-Black Hair”
A federal appellate court has ruled against the Obama administration’s claims that firing a black woman for wearing dreadlocks constitutes racial discrimination and the government agency representing the employee poses an interesting question: Would a woman wearing a hijab face the same fate? The answer is no. Muslims have more rights in the U.S. workplace than African Americans, it seems. In the aftermath of several rulings protecting Muslim rights to wear religious head covers on the job, a black woman is being prohibited from sporting a hairstyle that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent. That constitutes racial discrimination, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws. The agency filed the case in 2013 on behalf of an Alabama woman, Chastity Jones, who was told by an insurance claims processing company to cut her dreadlocks—long clumps of ungroomed hair, symbolizing the mane of the Lion of Judah—as part of its grooming policy. The EEOC argued that the company, Catastrophe Management Solutions, committed racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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