An African American woman applied for a job as a customer service representative. Despite the title, the position involved handling telephone calls rather than interacting directly with customers. She arrived at the interview in a blue business suit and wearing short dreadlocks. Following a brief interview with a company representative, she was informed that she was hired. No mention was made of her hair style. Later in the day, after speaking with the HR manager about a scheduling issue, the woman was asked whether she was wearing her hair in dreadlocks. When the woman indicated that she was, she was told by the HR manager that she could not be hired “with the dreadlocks.” The HR manager cited the company’s appearance policy, which stated that “All personnel are expected to be dressed and groomed in a manner that projects a professional and businesslike image while adhering to company and industry standards and/or guidelines. … [H]airstyle should reflect a business/professional image. No excessive hairstyles or unusual colors are acceptable.” The company rescinded the job offer to the woman. She sued. (EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, 852 F.3d 1018 (11th Cir. 2016).
QUESTION: Was this race discrimination? Why or why not? If you were hired by the company as an HR consultant, what would you advise?
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