Diversity in the workforce means everyone should be aware of the many forms of prejudice. One that often lacks attention is hair discrimination, a pernicious example of intolerance.
Every employee and employer bears a moral responsibility to learn about this issue. With increased knowledge comes a better ability to create positive change.
Hair discrimination basics
Hair discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of individuals based on their natural hair texture, style or appearance. This type of bigotry often targets people with afro-textured or curly hair. It also affects those who put their hair in traditional or cultural shapes such as braids, twists or locs.
The problem manifests in various ways. One is through employer dress codes that explicitly prohibit certain hairstyles. Negative language about hair is another all-too-common reality. No one should experience hurtful comments or jokes from colleagues and managers.
Unfair hiring and promotion practices are even more destructive. According to a CROWN Research Study, a quarter of Black women feel that their hairstyles are the reason for not getting a job interview.
Every company has unique policies on appearance and grooming. Awareness of these rules can help one navigate potential hair-related conflicts. If employees are unsure of your company policy, they can contact a supervisor or manager for clarification.
Episodes of hair discrimination need thorough documentation. Note dates, times, locations, individuals involved and any witnesses. This information can be invaluable if someone decides to file a complaint.
Hair discrimination is a toxic form of prejudice that deserves eradication. Ridding this scourge from the office will increase inclusivity and make the world a more just planet.