Black job candidate says employer called her natural hair unprofessional during interview


‘So how should I wear it?’: Black job candidate says employer called her natural hair unprofessional during interview

'So my hair doesn't suit the work environment here, or are you saying you don't like it?'


Tiffanie Drayton


Posted on Oct 13, 2023   Updated on Oct 13, 2023, 1:15 pm CDT

A black woman interviewing for a job at a beauty supply store says her interviewer called her natural hair “unprofessional,” stirring uproar online.

In a viral TikTok video that has amassed over 117,800 views and 8,900 likes, user DoraLee (@artdora) shared the exchange between herself and the potential employer that took a bad turn.

“Employer says my hair is not ‘appropriate’ for work during interview,” text overlaid on the 59-second clip read.

In it, the woman can be heard defending her choice to wear her natural locks while on a job interview at Beauty Master beauty supply store in Atlanta, while the interviewer keeps telling the black woman that her hair is inappropriate for the work environment.

“So how should I wear it?” she can be heard asking the employer.

“You should plait it down and some rubber band,” the woman responded. “Not, not too big.”

As the exchange continued, photographs of the job-seeker’s neatly coifed afro flashed across the screen.

“Ok, but it’s like part of my culture and people love my hair,” she calmly pushed back.

@artdora Employer says my hair is not appropriate for work…….. part 1##beautymaster#naturalhair#campcreekmarketplace#curlyhairtutorial#blackgirlmagic ♬ original sound – DoraLee

That did not stop the beauty store manager from making more derogatory remarks about her hair. She goes so far as to call the black woman’s hair “something.”

“You said my hair is something?” the job seeker fired back.

That’s when the manager used Google Translate to make sure her message was properly translated from her mother-tongue to English.

“It doesn’t suit me at work,” the translator said, translating the shop owner’s initial sentence.

The worker pushed for clarification. “So my hair doesn’t suit the work environment here,” she asked. “Or are you saying you don’t like it?”

It is especially strange that the employer would deem the woman’s afro-textured hair “unsuitable” for work at a beauty supply store, considering many black women tend to shop there. In fact, beauty supply stores have long been heralded spaces where black women and girls can find the products they need specific to their hair type. Though black women often experience workplace discrimination because of their natural locks, facing it at a beauty supply store that’s supposed to be a safe space for black women, is especially harmful.

“Ok, yeah, I really wasn’t expecting that,” DoraLee finally mustered up the courage to say before walking out on the interview.

In the comments section, many disagreed with the employers decision to discriminate against the black woman’s hair.

“Ajuma is tripping,” one user wrote. “Your hair would def have me in there asking you for all the product recommendations.”

“No other ppl go through this,” a second user added. “The hair is amazing.

Others hoped the store could be sued for discrimination.

“See a lawyer and get that bag, girl!” one person advised.

“THE CROWN ACT,” wrote another.

The comment references a law called The CROWN Act, which has passed in several states including: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The law prohibits hair-based discrimination at work or school based on the style or texture of black hair.

However, it appears that the law has not passed in the TikToker’s state of Georgia.

In a follow-up video, the job-seeker continued to try to explain to the employer why wearing her afro-textured hair was appropriate.

@artdora Employer says my hair is not appropriate for work…….. part 2##beautymaster#naturalhair#campcreekmarketplace#curlyhairtutorial#blackgirlmagic ♬ original sound – DoraLee

“Yeah, I mean I know a lot about hair because I’ve had my hair like this, there’s a lot of people will ask me questions about products so I could recommend them,” she said. “Because a lot of women, they love natural hair.”

The store worker still wouldn’t budge and doubled-down on her claim that the black woman’s hair wasn’t appropriate for a work place.

Eventually, DoraLee realized her attempts to educate the woman were futile and decided to pass on the job.

The Daily Dot reached out to Beauty Master via phone and did not receive a response for comment. We also reached out to DoraLee via TikTok comment and will update the story should she respond.

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*First Published: Oct 13, 2023, 1:14 pm CDT