Medical Equipment Company to Pay $50,000 After Firing Woman Over Natural Hair

Natural Hair

A medical equipment company is slated to compensate a former employee, Imani Jackson, with $50,000 following allegations of racial discrimination stemming from her choice to wear her natural hair.

The lawsuit, filed against American Screening, LLC, in the US District Court For The Eastern District of Louisiana by the federal government on behalf of Jackson, sheds light on discriminatory practices in the workplace.

The suit outlines Jackson’s experience, beginning with her hiring process in August 2018, during which she donned a long, straight wig that garnered approval from the company’s owner.

However, after opting to wear her natural, curly hair in a bun in mid-September 2018, Jackson faced criticism and requests to revert to wearing the wig.

Despite other employees wearing their hair similarly, Jackson’s natural hair drew unwarranted attention from the owner, who deemed it “unprofessional.”

Subsequent interactions with human resources and the owner only exacerbated the situation, with Jackson ultimately being terminated on grounds related to her hair.

Notably, the company hired a white replacement shortly thereafter, suggesting a discriminatory motive behind Jackson’s dismissal.

The lawsuit alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, among other protected characteristics.

Despite efforts at informal resolution by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the matter proceeded to litigation.

The resolution of the lawsuit, facilitated by a consent decree, mandates corrective action by American Screening, including anti-discrimination training for employees and the appointment of a liaison to oversee compliance with Title VII.

This outcome highlights the ongoing need to address racial discrimination in the workplace, particularly concerning natural hairstyles associated with Black individuals.

Legal experts emphasize the significance of upholding anti-discrimination laws and combating prejudices rooted in racial characteristics.

The settlement serves as a reminder of the imperative to safeguard employees’ rights and promote diversity and inclusion in all professional settings.