Tyler House, 16, was hired at Marcus Country Club Hills Cinema in Illinois, but was fired on her very first day.
According to The Root, House’s manager sent her home right on the spot. “He called my name and brought me to the hallway and said, ‘Dreads are not allowed,’” House recalled.
House said she was perplexed by her manager’s supposed rule because she had dreadlocks when she interviewed for the job and no one told her about any ban against the hairstyle.
“Why is it that dreadlocks are not permitted in your employees, but it’s okay for us to spend our dreadlock money in your company? I don't understand. They come to an African-American neighborhood but they discriminate against some of us. I don't understand it,” said the teen’s mother, Darnetta Herring.
House’s older sister posted about the ordeal on Facebook.
Word of the discrimination traveled with the original post being shared more than 1,000 times, which prompted the company to issue an official statement acknowledging that they are overturning the policy against dreadlocks.
“This week we learned that a job candidate at our Marcus Country Club Hills Cinema was turned away because she wore dreadlocks,” the statement reads. “Some have expressed concern, and their reaction has led us to re-examine that decision. Marcus Theatres operates in many communities across the United States, and our success is due in part to our talented team. Our associates come to work each day committed to delivering a best-in-class experience to everyone who passes through our doors. Effective immediately, no job candidate will be disqualified because they wear dreadlocks. We are in the process of reviewing our protocols, and will update them to ensure that they reflect our professional standards and commitment to recognizing the diversity of our associates.”
Unfortunately, this is not the first incident of its kind to occur recently. A woman named Rachel Sakabo claimed she was also terminated from her front desk job at a St. Regis hotel in Manhattan because of her dreadlocks. Despite offering to shave them off to keep her job, she was ultimately told she was “not a good fit” for the position.
Traditionally black hairstyles have been a source of controversy for some time as the corporate world tends to deem them “unprofessional.”
This goes without saying, but, a person’s hairstyle does not determine their work ethic or ability to effectively execute assigned tasks.
Furthermore, if a company has a strict dress code or appearance policy, that should be made clear before hiring someone.
Forcing people to endure the humiliation of being fired from a job because of a cultural style is not just a matter of enforcing policy, but a deliberate act of oppression that pressures people of color to conform to whitewashed beauty standards.
According to Vibe, House has since been contacted about an opportunity to work for a local AMC theater.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters