Woman Cites Discrimination After Zara Managers Tell Her To “Fix” Her Hair

April 11, 2016  |  

Zara Managers Tell Employee Her Braids Are Unprofessional

Source: CBC News

Another day, another incident of a Black women being discriminated against for her ethnically-styled hair.

According to CBC News, 20-year-old Cree Ballah was sent home from her job at a Zara, in Toronto ,when her managers told her the look was unprofessional.

Ballah, who had box braids at the time, had them gathered in the back.

One manager asked her to take the braids out of the bunch and then came back with a second manager.

Ballah told CBC, “They took me outside of the store and they said, ‘We’re not trying to offend you, but we’re going for a clean, professional look with Zara and the hairstyle you have now is not the look for Zara.”

The managers then asked her to try and fix her hair.

Ballah said the whole ordeal was humiliating and their reprimanding her, outside of the store, in the mall where other employees could see them, was unprofessional.

Ballah left the mall that day and later filed an official complaint with the human resources department, citing discrimination.

“My hair type is also linked to my race, so to me, I felt like it was direct discrimination against my ethnicity in the sense of what comes along with it,” said Ballah, who describes herself as bi-racial. “My hair type is out of my control and I try to control it to the best of my ability, which wasn’t up to standard for Zara.”

Ballah met with company officials but was still unsatisfied with the way the incident was handled.

Zara said that the company is diverse and multicultural and does not tolerate any form of discrimination. They also said that they “engaged directly the employee on this matter and respect the privacy of those discussions.”

The statement noted that there is no formal policy regarding employee hairstyles, just that they look professional.

Though Ballah hadn’t quit when the CBC story was first published, late last week, she said that she likely will.

It’s so discouraging, and almost frightening to think that these companies, who claim to be on the cutting edge of affordable fashion, trying to appeal to a vast number of female consumers, would be so ignorant and close-minded when it comes to Black hair.

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