In yet another example of hair bias against Black women, an African-American employee at Banana Republic has filed a $1 million lawsuit because of discrimination.
Destiny Tompkins, 19, said her manager, who is white, scolded her for wearing box braids that were too “urban” and “unkempt.” The manager threatened to take her off the work schedule, she said in a detailed Facebook post, if she didn’t comply with the order at a branch store in Westchester, N.Y.
“I have never been so humiliated and degraded in my life by a white person,” Tompkins wrote. “In that moment, I felt so uncomfortable and overwhelmed that I didn’t even finish my work shift and ended up leaving.”
Like most Black women caught in the claws of discrimination, the teen had to explain her hairstyle.
“Box braids are not a matter of unprofessionalism, they are protective styles black women have used for their hair and to be discriminated against because of it is truly disgusting and unacceptable,” Tompkins wrote in the post. “Make this public bc they need to be exposed for their blatant racism and discrimination. There’s no reason why a white person should feel allowed to tell me that I can’t wear my hair the way that I want bc it’s too black for their store image.”
Tompkins’ was suspended over the style, the New York Daily News reported.
After the teen’s post went viral, the offending manager was fired. However, the brand’s regional manager, who visited the store in question before the direct supervisor suspended Tompkins, faced no punishment.
Banana Republic and its parent company Gap Inc, as well as former store manager Michael Gennis and regional manager Jill Matejunas, are mentioned in the suit filed in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan Monday.
Banana Republic refused to “comment on pending litigation,” the Daily News reported. But the company doubled down on its insistence that there’s a zero tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment.
SOURCE: New York Daily News
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‘Too Urban:’ Black Banana Republic Employee Sues For $1 Million Over Discrimination was originally published on newsone.com
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