EEOC Sues Alabama Company For Termination of Applicant With Dreadlocks

A recent lawsuit filed by the EEOC in Alabama is a good reminder of the scrutiny that will be brought to bear over a dress code policy which could be interpreted as having an adverse impact on a racial minority group.  The press release from the EEOC  can be found here.

In the press release, the EEOC claims that the lawsuit is about  “the racial bias that may occur when specific hair constructs and styles are  singled out for different treatment because they do not conform to normative standards  for other races.”   That may be true, but companies also have a right to maintain a clean cut and conservative dress code if they choose to do so womens new balance 420.  The takeaway from this lawsuit is that any adverse employment action based on a dress code violation should be well supported by business justifications and a history of consistent enforcement across racial, ethnic and gender lines.


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HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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