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Ghanaian woman denied job; told natural hair unacceptable

A 20-year-old Ghanaian woman was excited to get started at her new job as a waitress, until she was asked to go home because of her hair.

Akua Agyemfra told CBC News that she quit her job at Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill in Toronto two weeks ago because she felt they discriminated against her natural hair.

During her job interview, she wore her hair in a bun, and her interviewer asked her if she was OK with wearing her hair down. Agyemfra said yes and was hired on the spot.

On Facebook, she said that she had extensions during her interview and two training shifts, but then took out her braids before her third training shift. Because of that, her hair didn’t comply with the chain’s “straight hair policy,” so she wore it in a bun.

Assistant manager Sabrina Chiodo then told her, “I’m sorry to have to let you go home.” Apparently, other servers were upset that she was wearing her hair in a bun while they couldn’t.

Agyemfra showed her that her hair doesn’t “go down” when she takes her bun out, but she was still forced to go home because her hair was “unacceptable,” according to ABC News.

Chiodo told CBC News that she did send her employee home because of her hair, but insisted that the restaurant policy was that every waitress wear her hair straight down; the corporate chain denies this, saying that they can wear their hair in a “stylish up-do.”

The chain is now reviewing its policies and built a confidential channel for workers to weigh in on uniform policies.

“My natural hair is healthy and fine,” Agyemfra told Buzzfeed. “It’s only recently that society has been welcoming natural hair as even Caucasian women have adapted to hairstyles like cornrows and box braids. But we still have a long way to go and my experience proves that.”

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