After seven months of being jobless, 32-year-old Rachel Sakabo is once again unemployed due to what she believes is a case of sheer racial discrimination.
In early August, Sakabo began working at the St. Regis hotel in Manhattan at a front desk position.
But things took an unexpected turn when only two weeks into her new job, Sakabo learned she was being let go because apparently she wasn’t a “good fit” with the culture of the hotel. Sakabo, who sat through an orientation that revolved around how to speak and represent herself at the front desk, was well aware with the requirements of working at a hotel. So being told that she didn’t “fit in” didn’t make sense to her.
Apparently, the front desk manager had made it obvious that Sakabo was being laid off her job because of her dreadlocks.
“You’re not supposed to have braids at the front desk,” he said.
“Well, don’t worry, they aren’t braids. They’re locs,” Sakabo said.
“Well, can you unlock them?” the man responded.
The woman went on to explain the dreads could not be unlocked and said she was willing to go bald, if that meant she could keep her job. She even spoke to a hotel union representative, but was discouraged when she learned she couldn’t be helped by the union until a 60-day probationary period of employment.
A week after this incident, the woman was called into a meeting with the front desk director and a union representative. She was only told that she was “not a good fit” for the organization and thus would be let go. Although she kept asking what that meant, all she got as an answer was, “You don’t fit our culture here, you may be better suited for maybe a W hotel.”
Her hair was never mentioned during the meeting, but Sakabo believes that the fact that she is black and wears dreadlocks is the main reason behind being let go. She has provided BuzzFeed a document that highlights the hotels appearance standards, and surprisingly there is no mention of employees not being allowed to wear braids or dreads.
Interestingly, during the orientation session or interviews, Sakabo’s hair was never brought up as an issue, but she believes the manager used it as a reason to pick on her and let her go.