While this isn’t the first time a worker has been harassed about her natural hair, what is extraordinary is that it keeps happening over and over again around the globe in spite of the negative publicity.
In the most recent case, Cree Ballah, who describes herself as biracial, told Canada’s City News that when she arrived at work on March 23, two managers asked her to remove the box braids she wore in an updo: “She said ‘your hair is too extreme for the Zara store. Please take it down’.”
Ballah told Toronto’s City News that the two managers said they were “not trying to offend” her, but told her they were “going for a clean professional look.”
Ballah said they then tried to take matters into their own hands by attempting to “fix” the hairstyle in the middle of a crowded mall. “It was very humiliating… it was unprofessional,” she told CBC. “My hair type is also linked to my race, so to me, I felt like it was direct discrimination against my ethnicity in the sense of what comes along with it.”
Ballah did not respond to a request for comment before publication. City News reports she filed a complaint with Zara’s human resources department. A meeting two weeks later did little to resolve the issue to her satisfaction.
A Zara spokesman told the news outlet that the fashion retailer “would never, under any circumstances, ask an employee to remove his or her braids. We are proud of our diverse workforce, and we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.”