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Sent Home For Natural Hairstyle

LEFT: Rolanda Davis, 22, pictured the day she claimed she was sent home from work in October due to her natural hairstyle. 
RIGHT: Anthonique Hall, 24, who claimed a superior at her workplace said her natural hairstyle was “nasty” and was told to leave work to fix her hair. 

LEFT: Rolanda Davis, 22, pictured the day she claimed she was sent home from work in October due to her natural hairstyle.  RIGHT: Anthonique Hall, 24, who claimed a superior at her workplace said her natural hairstyle was “nasty” and was told to leave work to fix her hair. 

By MORGAN ADDERLEY 

SINCE October, two women have been sent home from their jobs at local establishments for wearing their natural hair.

Anthonique Hall, 24, said she was told her hair is “nasty” and Rolanda Davis, 22, said she was asked why she wasn’t wearing a wig. Both women consider these incidents to be examples of discrimination.

After initially posting on social media, they described their experiences in further detail with The Tribune.

Ms Davis, a senior at the University of the Bahamas, wore her natural hair to work for the first time this summer. Although it was “pulled back” and “slicked and gelled,” she said: “A high ranking executive passed the store. When she glimpsed me behind the register, her face distorted in scorn.”

Ms Davis added: “After that, a general note went around the store from our higher ups that we need to be more presentable— more makeup, suit jackets, hair ties – basically they addressed me without addressing me.”

Ms Davis took note and started wearing a weave.

“Fast forward to the day I was sent home (October 23). I came to work on time with my hair styled as is in the photo. My manager took one look at me and was like, ‘where my wig?’ I told her that it’s being washed. She asked me if I didn’t have another one or why I didn’t do that on my day off, which happened to be the following day.”

Ms Davis explained that she would be getting hair extensions the next day. Despite this, she said her manager told her she had to leave. Due to the impossibility of getting her appointment switched to that day, Ms Davis lost a day of work.

For her part, Ms Hall said on the morning of November 20 she wore her hair in a “twist out.”

“My manager stared at my hair… (Later she) told me my hair wasn’t appropriate and that I should fix it, but I told her my hair wasn’t long enough to go in one (a ponytail).

“Then she left and came back and brought my supervisor and they pulled me outside. My supervisor wasn’t much help. She (agreed) with my manager and told me to fix my hair. I repeated my hair isn’t long enough, but they didn’t care.

“That’s when my manager proceeded to call my hair nasty and I got extremely offended. (Then) my manager told me to go home.”

Ms Hall left and got her hair styled in box braids.

“As punishment, I got a write up slip because my manager believes she told me to go home, fix my hair and come back to work,” Ms Hall said. “But she never said that. She blatantly told me to go home.”

Neither woman feels as though much has been done to rectify her situation.

Ms Davis said: “I had a meeting with (human resources) a few days later…they said my hair was fine. The company expressed their policy which does not discriminate against natural hair.”

However, Ms Davis pointed out that the policy of “‘attractively arranged’ is at the discretion of the manager. While they issued a half apology there has not been policy reform,” she said.

She also expressed concern at being penalised in other ways.

“(I know) I will make a mistake, that’s human nature, and the one incident, which would normally get a pass, won’t because of what I did. That is the fear, the fear that keeps many silent,” Ms Davis said.

Meanwhile, Ms Hall told The Tribune she attempted to report her manager.

“It wasn’t effective,” Ms Hall said. “She’s pretty much a figure in the company where people believe she (can) do no wrong. She didn’t apologise for her rude remarks, another manager had to apologise for her. And I still felt like in the end what was the point…if she got it her way?

“I’ll always feel like I’m losing every battle.”

Neither woman can afford to leave her job.

Ms Davis said: “I have bills that are due like clockwork every end of the month. Like so many other Bahamians I suck it up, put on my name tag, wear a smile and push through.”

Both women acknowledged the role of race and complexion in their experiences. Ms Davis said: “I have a co-worker (with) natural hair but her hair texture is different, she has a loose curl or ‘mixed hair.’

“She wears her natural hair every day in different styles, some days a ponytail, even a puff, and no one says anything. But the minute I wear my hair it became an issue.”

Ms Davis noted that her manager is black, and that other girls in the company have experienced similar situations.

On Facebook, she wrote: “My anger became sadness because as a young black woman in this country I know that this (European) standard of what we should look like, need to look like, has a vice grip on my country, my Bahamas.”

In her Facebook post, Ms Hall wrote: “My manager is a white Bahamian so she’ll never understand the struggle black people (have) to go through with dealing with our kinks and coils.”

Ms Hall added: “Honestly this experience has only made me embrace my 4C hair even more...and it’s only made my bond with my hair stronger.

“I’m going to (wear) more black inspired hairstyles (such as) braids to pretty much tell the company through my hair that I am proud to be black and I will not apologise for it.”

Up to press time, Ms Davis’ and Ms Hall’s Facebook posts have collectively received over 8,800 “likes” and been shared by more than 6,700 people. Ms Davis’ story was also published on the popular website Afro-Punk.

In February 2016, another Bahamian natural hair controversy went viral. Tayjha Deleveaux, a CR Walker student, was reprimanded for what the school’s principal viewed as not properly groomed hair. The student reportedly sported an Afro puff.

The incident sparked much controversy after Tayjha’s mother posted a photo on Facebook of her daughter and a statement defending her hair. Shortly after, the hashtag #SupportThePuff was created. Tayjha’s story was featured on several international news websites and blogs, including BBC News, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post and The Shade Room.

Anyone with labour complaints or who feel as though they may have been terminated unfairly can contact the Department of Labour at 302-2550 or 302-2551.

Comments

ohdrap4 9 months, 3 weeks ago

the first girl has a hair band and a nicely styled hair.

the second girl could use a hair band, hair clip or an attractive turban. it is not a matter of natural hair-- the hair is unadorned-- she just needs accessories that are suitable for the business where she works.

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realfreethinker 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If these are the pictures of the way these ladies wore their hair,then the manager has the problem. This country is so closed minded and focused on the wrong things. We will forever be a third world country. These ladies are so gorgeous with their hair styles. I find it offensive to force a person to wear anything other than their natural hair. Wake up Bahamas,we are being left behind.

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Socrates 9 months, 3 weeks ago

what are the company policies? were these folks in compliance? surely it must be more than just someone's opinion..

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proudloudandfnm 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Sue their ass. You both look fine. Time to stop this crap. I hired a guy with locks, after giving him an assignment he impressed me with his speed and accuracy. Then one of my managers asks me if I hired him with that hair. I told him I don't give a crap about his hair, he does good work. End of debate...

Time to stop this garbage. Sue them.

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proudloudandfnm 9 months, 3 weeks ago

And at UOB no less. A place where people go to learn. Damn...

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DDK 9 months, 3 weeks ago

DISGRACEFUL attitudes on the part of the employers! Talk about stupid discrimination. I would go back with a GREAT BIG AFRO!

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banker 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is an outrage. Both women have hairstyles suitable for business. Why are Black women judged by white standards when it comes to grooming and deportment?

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My2cents 9 months, 3 weeks ago

@Ohdrap4 there is nothing wrong with either hairstyle. Hair that grows naturally out of one's head, needs no adornment to be acceptable. It only needs to be clean...and it appears they both meet that criteria.

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mandela 9 months, 3 weeks ago

To say a black female has to wear a WIG as opposed to their natural hair, or the style their hair can be worn due to the God given texture and type of hair black people are born with is an insult to us, there's no wonder some black women bleach themselves trying to conform to someone they ain't just to fit in or be accepted through another persons eyes. For supposed to be educated mature leaders in a university where culture, black culture should be taught and encouraged to have such a view is a disgrace to the black human race. Sounds like the U.B is in North Korea

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sheeprunner12 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Can you wear these hairstyles in Parliament, Police or the pulpit?????? ............ But every company or organization has attire and grooming rules that civilians must adhere to ........ otherwise, there will be chaos based on "self-expression".

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sealice 9 months, 3 weeks ago

they already have to wear white powder wigs...

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seamphony 9 months, 3 weeks ago

can't we just go ahead and point our fingers at these older lady managers who were obviously terrorizing these girls who didn't have the luxury of quitting their jobs? don't you have enough fake hair, makeup, and body parts already?

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tell_it_like_it_is 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah this story is a bit ridiculous. How can you tell a black woman she must WEAR A WIG? That is very insulting. Also, is the company buying the wig? Cause I don't see how else they can tell her how to style her hair (and even then). The woman who was told to wear a wig in the first picture looks very presentable and the manager should be ASHAMED!

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CatIslandBoy 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I see nothing wrong with the hairstyles in the above photos. A person's choice of hairstyle should not be dictated by an employer, except for hygienic concerns.

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banker 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Dunno about you, but when in an amorous situation with a woman, natural hair is a hell of a lot better than chemically-straightened, bleached, weave or wig. I like woman natural, not powdered up, painted, acrylic nails with Shazam designs, oiled skin, powdered up, or toe nails that look like Skittles.

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ohdrap4 9 months, 3 weeks ago

you forgot the tattooed eyebrows

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hrysippus 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If a woman's hair is straight and long,............. .... It does not mean her health is strong. . ........ yet with all the Princesses in Disney's World ................. .... You won't find one whose hair is curled.. .. ......... Our daughters watch, like a lesson took,........ .......... they think that's how they ought to look..... ........... Better by far is natural hair. . ..... ............ And easier for her wallet to bear...... .......

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joeblow 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Boy, Bahamians love to comment after only hearing one side of a story!

In reality, employees are representatives of a business. They are who the customers see first! An employer has a right, through the company's managers to ensure an appearance that is consistent with the company's image. If you read the comments of the ladies closely it would seem they are using their hairstyles to express an ideology. That is not why they are employed..

If the company's standard conflict with the way they choose to express their 'Afrocentrism' then they should seek employment somewhere else and not try to pressure the company to acquiesce to their demands. After all, they have no capital invested in the success of the business.

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hnhanna 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The story is one sided, the writer should inquire about the company grooming policies

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quietone 9 months, 3 weeks ago

In all my working years, I thought I had already seen all the strangest, craziest, goofed-up reasons for firing or sending an employee home... maybe the manager/supervisor is NOT a woman... maybe they own these false hair companies... maybe the girls are smarter than they and could eventually take their jobs. Ok, before I scratch my head off trying to figure this out... I believe these false hair could also cause diseases, etc. And I believe our Bahamian women should be treated WAY, WAY better than this!!!!!!!

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My2cents 9 months, 3 weeks ago

@joeblow @hhhanna Kinky hair is no more an expression of 'Afrocentrism' than blonde hair as an expression Eurocentrism. No one would expect a white woman to color her hair or wear weaves to make anyone comfortable. If the natural hair is clean there is no way it should violate any policy, if it does those outdated and racist policies need to be changed.

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joeblow 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Read, think, then respond!

Notice carefully I said that the article suggests that based on what the women said, they were expressing an ideology with their hairstyle!

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My2cents 9 months, 3 weeks ago

@Joeblow I suggest you think and understand what you're trying to say first and foremost.

I read your comment and I maintain wearing ones natural hair is not an expression of Afrocentrism any more than a blonde person wearing their natural hair. These ladies doubled down on their pride in their hair because they were told something was wrong with it. Normal people react that way. Only a low self esteemed c0on would accept such an insult If it's against company policy, that's called discrimination

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