Black woman says she was sent home from work for ‘unnatural hair color.’ Her hair is blonde

@mielturner/TikTok Giulio_Fornasar/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘It’s a Black-owned company’: Black woman says she was sent home from work for ‘unnatural hair color.’ Her hair is blonde

'It is natural within the black community. You have grounds for a BAG.'

 

Marlin Ramos

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Posted on Jan 25, 2024   Updated on Jan 25, 2024, 2:21 pm CST

When you think about unprofessional appearances at work, many things might come to mind. To the surprise of some on TikTok, blonde hair is also considered unprofessional in some work settings. One TikToker walks viewers through their experience of being sent some for having blonde hair.

In a viral video, Rosey (@mielturner) says they were sent home the second they walked through the door because their blonde hair color was unnatural.

“But they told me that blonde hair is not a natural hair color, and it goes against their grooming policy,” they say. “And I know I know they meant not natural for Black people … because we see Caucasian people with naturally blonde hair every day.”

Rosey goes on to say that one of the most astonishing parts of the experience is that their workplace is a completely Black-owned-and-operated company. 

“I feel like this goes against some kind of rights. Something!” they continue. “I’d see [it] if I walked in there with bright green hair—OK, cool—but this?”

The video has more than 390,000 views and over 7,000 comments.

Viewers in the comments section agree that Rosey is experiencing some kind of discrimination and should pursue a legal case.

“It is natural within the black community. You have grounds for a BAG. Consult a lawyer. Doesn’t matter if it’s black-owned,” mentions one comment.

“Sue them….the crown act protects you love,” mentions another.

“File a complaint EEOC Crown Act!!! they gotta show you the policy,” echoes another comment about the CROWN Act.

@mielturner i couldn’t even see my work hubby today yall😢💔 #senthomefromwork #blondehair #blondesdoitbetter #blondiegirl💋 #blondie #groomingpolicy #worksentmehometoday #hrsucks ♬ original sound – Rosey💋

According to the Legal Defense Fund, The CROWN Act is “legislation that demands protection against race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and in K-12 public and charter schools based on hair texture and protective styles.” It has been enacted in 22 states and over 40 municipalities, and more than 30 states pre-filed, filed, or intend to introduce the legislation. 

The CROWN Act specifically protects against discrimination against natural Black hairstyles like Afros, braids, locs, Bantu knots, and more. However, it does not explicitly say that it protects against hair color discrimination. In fact, some experts say it is legal in most cases to police employees’ hair color because it is not a legally protected trait like race, sex, and age. Policing hair color could be a slippery slope if it’s related to religious or ethnic tradition. In Rosey’s case, it becomes tricky because blonde is a naturally occurring hair color; it’s just not their natural hair color.

In a separate video about the incident, Rosey says the company stated during orientation that blonde hair is prohibited because it’s not traditional or natural. The TikToker says they considered not taking the job but first decided to call a family friend who is the company’s CFO. According to Rosey, the CFO said blonde hair was fine as long as they dyed it a little darker, which Rosey did, and then proceeded to go to work. Still, Rosey says they were met with pushback from HR. Rosey says after explaining to HR that they communicated with the CFO, HR spoke to the CFO. HR reportedly told Rosey they’d come to an agreement with the CFO, and Rosey needed to dye their hair black or brown.

In the latest video about the incident, Rosey shares that they have begun to pursue legal matters with a lawyer.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Rosey for comment via TikTok direct message.

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2024, 8:00 pm CST