Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:48 AM | Contributed by Gemini
18-year-old Lashanti Penn, a student at East Carolina University, says she was discriminated against when applying for a job at Carowinds because she has dreadlocks.
Read more from The Charlotte Observer.
I was not aware that "hair style" was a protected class. This one's going nowhere.
"Out of 100 people with dreadlocks, how many are going to be Caucasian? Not that many," she said.
Coming from a college student this statement surprises me.
Maybe she needs to read this, http://tomatonation.com/?p=838 :)
I wondered how long it would take before their corporate grooming policy would be challenged. It's definitely too rigid for the times. I'm surprised we haven't see this for women wearing hijab yet.
The funny thing is that they've become more liberal when it comes to hair color. I've seen some decidedly "unnatural" highlight colors, as well as several instances of the layered very blonde/very black look. What I don't get about the dreadlocks is that it doesn't look all that different, when tied back, than a head full of braids, and I know they allow that.
Of course, this is also the company that makes girls with goofy little ankle tattoos wear high socks, or worse, a retiree food worker cover his navy ship forearm tattoo with a sweatband. Perhaps the single worst thing I've seen is a Band-Aid® over a small nose piercing, because God knows that's as uncommon as earrings (to say nothing of the fact it has been custom in places like India for hundreds of years).
Sadly, I know that for most of these things, Cedar Fair can do whatever they want, but I find it unfortunate. They definitely put themselves at risk when it comes to culture-rooted fashion like this though.
I'm surprised we haven't see this for women wearing hijab yet.
My guess is that such a person would not be excluded for that reason---religious attire is generally protected. In fact, if the woman in the article happened to be a Rastafarian, she might have a better chance with her complaint.
Edited to add: personally, I agree with Jeff that CF is overboard in the grooming standards given where the culture is at this point. I wonder what Disney is using these days? I also wonder how many, say, Cedar Point guests would be "offended" at a tattoo?Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:14 AM
I have noticed some non-ear piercing slip by at the franchise restaurants at Cedar Point (Friday's and Dave's), as well as a minor tattoo here and there. I suspect that has more to do with the franchise's standards than their own. Heck, Friday's used to attract the biggest "freaks" they could, as it was kind of their signature. That was when they had flair!
I noticed over the weekend that Hersheypark is not tattoo or piercing averse. It certainly had no effect on the efficiency of the employees. I did see one supervisor-looking dude with his pants hanging down, and I do take some issue with that, oddly enough. "Neat and clean" is something different from ink and extra holes, in my eyes at least.
I did see one supervisor-looking dude with his pants hanging down, and I do take some issue with that, oddly enough. "Neat and clean" is something different from ink and extra holes, in my eyes at least.
And neat and clean to Cedar Fair means clean hair cuts and no tattoos.
This is a good lesson for this girl if you ask me and she seems to be dismissing it as racism. You can't always have or do whatever you want.
As I recall Disney and CF have had their grooming standards challenged in court in the past. I don't recall either one of them losing any of them.
It sounds like it's more the parent who is playing the race card. Being a white boy with zero ethnicity, I don't know that I can truly appreciate how this would make the parent feel.
I'm surprised that folks seem to be apathetic to Cedar Fair, seeing this as a "lesson" and not a reflection of our culture.
See, I can see why it might be perceived as racism. If the hairstyle is a cultural expression for the girl, I could see where the idea came from.
Hmmm, let me see.
A. Dreadlocks are a choice she chose to make.
B. CedarFair and any most other potential employer is an at-will state. If you don't like their rules, don't apply for the job. I had blonde hair & 1.5+ when I applied for a job there. I changed that, because I wanted to work there. I also worked at another place that changed the dress code after I was employed there(also pertaining to hair color), I liked working there. I changed my hair style.
I interviewed for the Disney College program many years ago when I was enrolled at CCAD, and I wore earing's in both ears at that time. Since I wanted the job, and knowing a bit about the company, I pulled all the rings out well before I interviewed. Still didn't get the job, though, but thats okay.
If the hairstyle is a cultural expression for the girl
But as I understand it, cultural expressions are generally not protected, whereas intrinsic properties and religious expressions generally are. So, while "the dreadlock rule" may (or may not) tend to impact African-Americans more than those of other races and ethnicities, I understand it to be legal. On the other hand, a "skin tone rule" would presumably be illegal, because it references an intrinsic property. Likewise, requiring a member of certain Jewish denominations to trim their payot as a condition of employment would also presumably be illegal, as it is a religious expression.
-brian (not a lawyer).Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, May 28, 2009 11:50 AM
Two words, John: Joe Rhode
I've seen him in so many interviews looking twice as, uh... Fabulous.
Playing the race card here is just ridiculous. Cedar Fair has every right to put boundaries on how their employees present themselves. It's the park's image that gets ruined by an employees' poor presentation.
I understand that "Out of 100 people with dreadlocks, how many are going to be Caucasian? Not that many." But its not like dreadlocks are the only banned hair style here. To think that the policy singles out African-Americans is just stupid. God there's probably hundreds of hair styles that a person of any race can wear that would be "unacceptable" to CF. Its annoying that they jumped to racism.
Ya Mon...She should check to see if they're hiring at Freestyle Music Park.
I think I might have hired one of Cedar Point's first employees with cornrows. When I interviewed her she did not have that hairstyle but she got her hair done after the interview and prior to her arrival. I got an immediate call from HR when she was processing in and we had a long, drawn out discussion on it which involved the HR Director, my department Director and the Vice President.
Now, the initial solution was to tell her to remove the cornrows or she wouldn't be able to stay. But, we debated a bit and she was allowed to stay. She ended up being a 3 or 4 season employee for us. Worth the effort in my opinion.
I would question if there was some type of accommodation that could be made. (I don't think they should be REQUIRED to make an accommodation but I think it would be smart PR if they did...or didn't let this get into the news to begin with.)
Could she have been put in a back-of-the-house position? Could she have worn some type of headdress to cover the dreadlocks?
Kind of a dumb reason to end up in the news if you ask me.
Brian Noble said:
But as I understand it, cultural expressions are generally not protected, whereas intrinsic properties and religious expressions generally are.
Can you really draw a line between culture and religion?
I'm not saying this girl was right or that CF is racist. I'm just saying that the line is a lot finer than some of us are making it out to be.
There's a line between the two----a big, fuzzy, shifting, hard-to-define one, with lots of grey in the middle, but a line nevertheless. Courts do this sort of line-defining all the time, and they work pretty hard to define as little of it as possible to resolve the specific case at hand. As I understand it, one of the main arguments in favor of Sonia Sotomayor's candidacy for the Supreme Court is that her opinions are fantastically narrow, and so don't often have a lot of unintended consequences.
Well, I think there's two things going on here (as there are in many of our conversations, q-bot most notably):
1) Is it profitable and/or legal?
2) Is it "fair"?
Now I understand that most people don't care at all about #2, especially the company, but I think it's an important question.
(Crap, did I just become LostKause?)
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