Court Rules Employers Can Legally Ban Dreadlocks at Work

dreadlocs work ban
credit: Asiama Junio

In a racially-charged ruling, the courts have officially ruled that it is OK for employers to discriminate against women for their hairstyles, specifically for wearing their hair in dreadlocks.

The ruling came down from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the decision made in 2014 in a 3-0 ruling.

U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan wrote in his decision,

“We recognize that the distinction between immutable and mutable characteristics of race can sometimes be a fine (and difficult) one, but it is a line that courts have drawn. So, for example, discrimination on the basis of black hair texture (an immutable characteristic) is prohibited by Title VII, while adverse action on the basis of black hairstyle (a mutable choice) is not.”

While we understand their distinction we find it difficult to comprehend how the court can not find this to be a violation of Title VII, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race. When they are banning hairstyle that is specific to one race then it is, therefore, racially-based discrimination. Furthermore, there’s nothing of equal weight they can ban for another race — i.e. there is no hairstyle specific to white people that can or would be banned. We’re sincerely disappointed in the court’s failure to see this.

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.