Federal Ruling Against Dreadlocks, What Does This Mean For You?!?
As many of you may know, legislation was recently passed on the federal level stating that employers can deny employment if you have dreadlocks. Fabulocs is a salon that caters to savvy business professionals who have recently expressed concern in regards to this ruling. I really wish the EEOC would've known to consult with us before approaching this case. Any professional, well educated hair stylist that performs services on locs will tell you that dreadlocks and locs are NOT the same thing. While reading the actual court documents, the potential employer asked the applicant if she had dreadlocks. The applicant’s response was yes. She was then denied employment. I have yet to see a photo of her to confirm that this is indeed what she had. If you do not have dreadlocks, please refrain from using the term. The identity of dreadlocks to most people who are not African American and are not familiar with natural hair styles or locs is consistent with photos of characters such as Bob Marley or old Whoopi Goldberg pictures and the like thereof. They have no idea that all locs or similar looking styles are NOT dreadlocks. We must take this seriously because even though the recent case was regarding an applicant who was denied employment for having dreadlocks, those of us who have locs or like styles may be discriminated against as well due to uneducated employers, lawyers and court judges who have no clue about these differences that are so obvious to most of us. Any hairstyle deemed as untidy or a cause of distraction that can possibly interfere with the perception of the organization, can be categorized as unprofessional to that specific organization. The idea that a style may one day become untidy, which was inferred in this court case, is applicable to any hairstyle and there for unreasonable and should have been considered as speculation. The point of all of this is if your employer asks if you have dreadlocks and you do not look like Bob Marley, just say NO! If they are brave enough to have you specify what you have, let them know and be honest about it. Try using terms such as manicured locs, sister locs, long term two strand twist etc.. Also, be sure to educate them on the differences. Lastly, I am sure there are going to be people who may be thinking, "Why do we have to hide our dreads or the idea of having dreads to appease these people.” “Should’nt we stand up for our rights?" My response to this is if you actually do have dreadlocks and feel strongly about wearing them in the work place regardless of the consequences, then yes, you should fight it! However, almost 100% of the customers we see with various types of locs do not have dreadlocks and can by pass all of this by not using the term.