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A black job seeker is suing for hair discrimination, but the company says it was a misunderstanding




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

Thornton’s complaint alleges that the company’s San Diego office violated the state’s CROWN Act, which prohibits employers from withholding employment for discrimination against the protected applicant’s hairstyle.

According to the lawsuit, when Thornton was interviewed for the position of technical supervisor on Nov. 1, an Encore hiring manager informed him that he would have to adjust to appearance policies if he wanted the job. This meant cutting her hair so that it would stay out of her ears, eyes and shoulders and the company would not allow her to simply tie her hair back.

“To accept the job, Mr. Thornton would have to materially change his hairstyle and therefore his appearance, cultural identity and racial heritage,” the complaint says. The lawsuit calls Encore’s policy “racial discrimination” because it targets race-associated hairstyles, especially black employees.

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

“Maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where each individual has a full sense of belonging and empowerment to reach their potential are the core values ​​of our business,” the statement said. “These values ​​are key to driving innovation, collaboration and achieving better results for our team members, customers and the communities we serve.

“We apologize for any incorrect communication with Mr. Thornton regarding our standard readiness policies, which appear to be fully compliant, and we have made him a job offer. We are continually seeking to learn and improve, and are reviewing our readiness policies for avoid possible communication errors in the future “.

Thornton’s lawsuit is believed to be the first to invoke the state’s CROWN Act, which went 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 the workplace. So far, 13 more states have passed versions of the CROWN Act, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.
Legislation banning hair biases is gaining momentum in more states as schools and sports leagues face policy backlash
Talking to one press conference earlier this week, Thornton said he was surprised when Encore told him that his hair should be cut because he had previously worked for the company for four years in Florida before being fired in March 2020. In 2019, he start wearing your hair with your hair. Thornton said. Being forced to cut them for a job was a “worker,” he said.

“I couldn’t accept sacrificing my disciplinary journey and what it symbolizes,” Thornton said of his premises, 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 stylist license in Louisiana.

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

“While we are pleased that Encore Global has acknowledged its mistake in denying my client’s employment due to their hairstyle, we still need to receive a formal apology or commitment to change the preparation policy which has had a disparate impact. in African Americans, “Kent told CNN. “I intend to engage in further dialogue with Encore to determine whether they will comply with all of the requests we have made to our lawsuit.”