ACLU looking into employee complaints about Six Flags hairstyle standards

Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 9:08 AM | Contributed by supermandl

The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating complaints from more than a dozen black employees at Six Flags America who were told their hairstyles were inappropriate.

Read more from AP via Yahoo.

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Monday, June 19, 2006 9:49 AM
I guess I would have to see how specific the employee handbook is in regards to hairstyles. Disney and Cedar Point were very specific. If you accepted a job you accepted the fact that you had to conform to these specific styles.

Now, I will say that those rules should be "with the times". When the braid look was coming on in the 90s we had ladies in particular showing up at the park and the dress code wasn't as clear as to prohibit the look. In fact, I had a gal who worked for me who was a very good worker but did have that style and I had to go back and forth with HR about it before we let it go.

But, if these employees signed an employment agreement saying they would conform I think their argument with the ACLU is dead in the water.

Doesn't the ACLU have more important things to worry about?

Monday, June 19, 2006 10:17 AM
The Washington Post is notorious for starting trouble where there isn't any. This article, like so many others the post writes, presents one side to the story, again. This is a park with a new GM. The new GM has decided to enforce policies that weren't enforced in the past. He's trying his best to get rid of the bad image the park has received over the years. The thanks he's receiving is the ACLU breathing down his neck.
Monday, June 19, 2006 10:49 AM
Jeff's avatar I'm sure that if you're a white guy you can't have long hair either. I know CP's grooming standards are like that. I thought that the GM was black too, so if the ACLU is looking for a race card being played, I don't think they're going to find one.
Monday, June 19, 2006 11:07 AM
Yes, Terry Prather is an African-American, so I don't think this is a race issue, only an issue of him enforcing regulations which were overlooked in the past. another rule I have seen the new GM enforce this year is requiring all employees walking through the part to be in uniform to and from their work stations and breaks. I have also noticed this year the lack of sagging or drooping pants worn by employees. Terry is trying to reverse years of negative image at SFA. I say good for him.
Monday, June 19, 2006 11:14 AM
janfrederick's avatar Yah, this is ridiculous (hear that Jeffrey? ;) ). If you are a cast member and are getting paid to be "on stage", you gotta play the part.

Here's a related story. When I worked at Great America, there was a definite standard against two-toned hair. I had two toned hair for a while and I got a few verbal warnings for it. Then I was pulled in for a photo shoot two-toned hair and all and ended up on the cover of the grooming manual...obstensibly as an example of appropriate grooming.

Monday, June 19, 2006 11:28 AM
I know it probably willn't but, maybe this article will backfire against the employees and ACLU. Instead of turning away business, the GP will see the article as the park is trying to change like Shapiro is saying and make a turn for the better. Yes, I know, I'm a dreamer.
Monday, June 19, 2006 11:43 AM
So does this mean brunch with Snoop Dogg is being cancelled?
Monday, June 19, 2006 2:21 PM
No, brunch is still on. It's only cancelled during high winds, or fo drizzle.
Monday, June 19, 2006 4:47 PM
^ hilarious. Two years ago I went to the job fair at SFGAm for ride hosting. I'm white and have long hair and in the grooming policy it says guys can't have long hair. I told my interviewer I wasn't going to cut my hair so I didn't get hired. Without pulling out the grooming policy it says you can't have ethnic hairstyles and for examples it says braids and dreadlocks. Guys can't have hair past the ear and collar. Can't have dyed hair or hairstlyes like mowhawks and spikes. I think that's specific enough and they aren't going to change the policy. I didn't complain when I didn't get the job and I'm not going to complain now.
Monday, June 19, 2006 5:12 PM
AT WILL EMPLOYMENT, just like I said when this story appeared on another website a few days ago.
Monday, June 19, 2006 5:51 PM
Some parks have slightly adjusted policies over the past few years. As of 2003 Universal (at least in Florida) allows conservative cornrows hairstyles and stud earings for males. In a way I suppose it fits with their parks' image.
Monday, June 19, 2006 8:49 PM
To me, all that matters is that the person working the ride is a) being safe b) is moving at a decent pace and c) isn't playing around A cornrow doesn't scare me.

I agree that grooming standards should be upheld, but within reason. I work for a fairly well-known non-demoninational church in Maryland. One of our young drummers frequently played with differently dyed hair and often it was sticking up in a mohawk, and this was at our Sunday services! But here's what's important–Phil kept a steady beat, played softly, listened to worship leaders sometimes more than twice his age, and got along well with everyone.

What if we had dismissed him outright just because of his style? The bottom line–we would've been short a drummer on many occassions. Somewhere in California, a band and/or church will be very happy to have him as he recently moved.

Monday, June 19, 2006 8:56 PM
I don't know what is the big deal here, I totally agree with SFA in trying to enforce a clean cut look. These policies were enforced way before the new management, and I would know because I used to work for SFA back in 2003, and the interviewer pointed out these rules before hiring you. These kids have to realize that they are representing a company and must abide by the rules and regulation of the company, and this is true for any other job they will try to embrace. I think that SFA employees should have a warm friendly, approachable look to enhance the experience, and not some haughty, weird looking person. We will leave that for the "path entertainers," unless that groovy "bucket-player" have to chop off his dreadlocks aswell. As dogmatic as I may seem, if the employees try to bend rules just for their own vanity then they are going to want to forget to press the stop button on the coasters because it might mess up their expensive nails, you get the point.
Monday, June 19, 2006 9:03 PM
^ I agree.

I-Fan. I'm not so sure you example is the best. A church is someplace where everyone is welcome. Who do you want serving you food at an amusement park? An employee that takes care of his/her personal hygiene or one with 3 feet of hair hanging off their head?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 12:17 AM
Maybe it's because I don't have kids coasterguts, and I've worked with employees wearing this style at SFA, but again, I think it's more important that it's what the employee does, and not how they look. I'd rather have someone treat me well, take my safety seriously, perform their job well with an 'urban' haircut then have some person with a short 'normal' hairstyle be rude, uncaring, unsafe and slow.

So where would I draw the line? I wouldn't allow facial piercings, and I'd probably limit the number of earings as well. It's such a hard call to make though. America has changed so much. The days when we were all on the same page as to what defines 'normal' are long gone.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 1:31 AM
I agree the race issue is complete bull. However, I have always felt these parks should lessen the restrictions on employees appearances.

Hygiene has nothing to do with the way you wear your hair unless you dont wash it and look like a slob.

The earring thing really needs to be addressed in this day and age. Just as many males wear ear jewelry as much as females today. It's like wearing a necklace.

I see lawyers, doctors, judges, police officers, and even high up management at companies sporting earrings and lengthy hair. It's really not an issue anymore.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:43 AM
I just got back from SFA. PErsonally, I love those crazy hair doo's that Afircan American people have. They are far more entertaining than any other...race's hair. wow I just sounded incredibly racist. But still, they shouldn't have to be told to cut there hair. And how does hair become inappropriate? It's just another conspiracy against African American people.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:48 AM
To me it is about being pragmatic and professional; I some cases your appearance reflects your maturity. I understand that there are some people that cannot cut their hair for religious reasons but what are the reasons of the other people. Being black, red, brown, pink is not an excuse to appear disastrous with wacky outfits or hair in a place where you are trying to lure more people to your business. I for one refuse to see a continuation of teens at SFA (whatever the race) attending me with hair that is unprofessional because it just indicates the lack of respect towards their jobs. This is not a racial issue, it just happens that the majority that applies at SFA are local black teens that are influenced by PG and DC street styles and they refuse to flex to the rest of the society. As mentioned in previous postings, what if they attempt to apply at the MVA, MNCPPC, Target, PGCC, these teens will have to conform to the rules and regulation of the company otherwise you get the boot. Lastly, I think that when employees are desciplined, the operation and service will be much better, and its time that SFI take action, and all the SFA park go-ers know what I am taking about ("bad customer service" issues).
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 11:07 AM
^ Well, I was just at SFA, and I was on Superman and this girl had some CRAZY hair (Like 3 different colors of weave), but sure seemed she respected her job, and was loading trains the fasted I've ever seen Superman been loaded. It was the ignorant guests who were arguing over seats that made the loading slow.

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