A TikToker’s frustration over her employer threatening to fire her over her hairstyle has left people frustrated over outdated ideas about “professional” appearance—and how rules regarding them tend to disproportionately be deployed against Black women.
“Bad start to the new year already,” @amourejayln_ captioned a now-deleted video posted earlier this week.
In it, she shows off her long braids, which fade from a bright red to black, top to bottom, while standing in what appears to be a public bathroom. The company identifier on her name tag reads “RaceTrac,” matching the logo of the national gas station chain.
“Just had a meeting with my manager about my hair,” she wrote. “She said take it out or I’m fired…I guess im getting fired today.”
In the comments, @amourejayln_ clarified that the manager specifically claimed to be referring to the color in her hair, although she says she’s had more brightly colored braids in the past.
“It’s against policy I guess,” she wrote.
But viewers weren’t satisfied with that explanation and backed up the TikToker’s dismay.
“You work at a gas station,” @jotarosoppaibby pointed out. “How tf are they telling you to be professional it’s not a damn lawyer.”
@jimimeaux suggested she “file a complaint with EEOC for discrimination so that you can sue them,” while another viewer was shocked that anyone could get fired over something so trivial when companies keep complaining about a so-called labor shortage.
“They allow colored hair now!” @clarke_93 insisted. “They told us that in orientation lmao. A girl had a whole blue bob so please, tellem leave u alone!”
Several Black viewers shared their own stories of managers giving them trouble about their hairstyles when their white coworkers didn’t deal with the same.
“My old supervisor tried this with me. Nah Becky dyed her hair 3 days ago and Karen showed up with pink highlights,” @thatgirl._.cyndi recalled. “No thanks I’m good.”
“Jobs really be like this. I had this happen, I said my hair the same color as becky hair,” added @alisha_g87.
Fortunately, @amourjayln_ said that her manager ultimately saw her TikTok—and the backlash—and decided she didn’t want to deal with the drama that might come from firing someone over their hair.
“She ain’t want no smoke,” the TikToker wrote. “I get to keep my braids [in].”
The Daily Dot has reached out to @amourjayln_ via TikTok comment and RaceTrac via email.
Update 11:12am CT, Jan. 7: In an email to the Daily Dot, a RaceTrac spokesperson said the company “does not have a policy restricting hair color.”
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” the spokesperson said. “We are currently investigating this situation.”
On Friday, @amourjayln_’s TikTok video had been removed.
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