Black candidate in California sues company for hair discrimination| Latest News Headlines

Black candidate in California sues company for hair discrimination

| Latest News Headlines | News Today

Jeffrey Thornton filed a lawsuit this week against Encore Group, LLC, saying the company denied him a job when he refused to cut his hair, which he wears locally.

Thornton’s complaint alleges that the company’s San Diego office violated the state’s CROWN Act, which prohibits employers from suspending employment because of discrimination against the protected candidate’s hairstyle.

According to the lawsuit, when Thornton interviewed for the role of technical supervisor on November 1, an Encore hiring manager informed him that he would have to adhere to appearance policies if he wanted the job. This meant cutting her hair so that it was out of the ears, eyes and shoulders and the company didn’t allow her to just tie her hair back.

“To accept the post, Mr. Thornton would have to materially alter his hairstyle, and therefore his appearance, cultural identity and racial heritage,” the complaint said. The lawsuit calls Encore’s policy “racial discrimination” because it targets hairstyles associated with race, particularly black employees.

Encore Global released a statement this week saying there was a “misunderstanding” with Thornton and a job offer was still on the table for him.

“Maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where every individual has a full sense of belonging and feels empowered to achieve their potential are core values ​​of our company,” the statement read. “These values ​​are essential to fuel innovation, collaboration and better results for our team members, our customers and the communities we serve.

“We regret any lack of communication with Mr. Thornton regarding our standard grooming policies – which he seems to fully adhere to and we have made him a job offer. We are continually looking to learn and improve, and we are reviewing our policies. of grooming to avoid potential communication problems in the future. “

Thornton’s lawsuit would be the first to invoke the state’s CROWN law, which came into effect in January 2020, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. California was the catalyst for other states to pass similar laws banning hair discrimination in schools, sports, and workplaces. So far, 13 other states have passed versions of the CROWN Act, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.
Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Thornton said he was shocked when Encore told him he would have to shut down his premises because he had already worked for the company for four years in Florida before being put on leave in March 2020. In 2019, he started wearing his hair in locs, Thornton said. Being forced to remove them for a job was a “deal breaker,” he said.

“I couldn’t agree to sacrifice my disciplinary background and what it symbolizes,” Thornton said of his locs, which are often associated with cultural identity and racial heritage in the black community.

You will need to learn how to do textured hair to get a license as a stylist in Louisiana.

Thornton’s attorney, Adam Kent, said they were not entirely happy with Encore’s response.

“While we are pleased that Encore Global has acknowledged its mistake in refusing my client’s employment due to his hairstyle, we have yet to receive a formal apology or commitment to change the grooming policy that has had a disparate impact on African Americans, “Kent told CNN. “I plan to engage further with Encore to determine if they will meet all of the demands we have made in our lawsuit.”

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