WAD NEWS – Law & Locks
Credit: Sabrina Clarke MD, Build Global

Legal discrimination against people with dreadlocks, seeking employment is to be challenged in the USA’s highest court.This follows a petition filed by the a NACCP Legal Defense Fund earlier this month, asking the case of Jones v. Catastrophe Management Solutions be reviewed in the Supreme Court.

After a US Federal Appeals Court took the controversial decision to uphold a lower court decision to rule in favour of an employer, who withdrew an employment opportunity based solely on how an African American woman wore her hair.

“This case gets at the heart of a Black person’s ability to compete in the workplace without yielding to the false idea that their hair is inherently unprofessional,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel at LDF.  “

In essence, the ruling placed a ban on employees having dreadlocks. The case of Chasity Jones saw it deemed that the natural growth of textured black hair was a matter of style and choice, and something ultimately changeable.

The decision was said not to be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which only protects to ‘immutable characteristics’ – those that are ‘uchangeable’.

Now many are hopeful, that the decision can be overturned and corrected using the Supreme Court precedent established in 1989 in the case of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, which ruled that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on stereotypes, regardless of whether the stereotype focuses on mutable or immutable traits.

World Afro Day Founder, Michelle De Leon responds: “We welcome this challenge because this law is so significant in demonstrating society’s bias against Afro hair. We chose the very same date, 15 September for World Afro Day to highlight this injustice. We hope and pray, that it will be removed from the legal books and relegated to the history books for the next generation.

CONTRIBUTOR – Journalist Tamisha Archibald

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