Can your employer send you home for the way your hair looks?

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Can your employer send you home for the way your hair looks?

I currently have been wearing my hair naturally and my boss keeps harassing me about the way it looks. It has now happened for the 3rd time where this time my boss sent me home because of the way my hair looks. My hair is brushed, combed and has hair product in it but because I am black and have thick hair it tends to go into a small afro. Do I have a case to sue if this continues?

Asked on April 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In "at will" employment, a coapny can set the conditonms of the workplce much as it sees fit. That in unless they violate the terms of an employment contact/union agreement or constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination. With respect to the latter, there can be no discrimination in employment based on an employees inclusion in a protected class based on such factors as: race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or national origin. Accordingly, if you beleive that your employer is discriminationg against solely due to your race and having thicker hair, then you would have a claim. However, otherwise a business has the right to put forth the company image that it wants.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In "at will" employment, a coapny can set the conditonms of the workplce much as it sees fit. That in unless they violate the terms of an employment contact/union agreement or constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination. With respect to the latter, there can be no discrimination in employment based on an employees inclusion in a protected class based on such factors as: race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or national origin. Accordingly, if you beleive that your employer is discriminationg against solely due to your race and having thicker hair, then you would have a claim. However, otherwise a business has the right to put forth the company image that it wants. 


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