Employer has to pay $14.5K to Black ex-waitress after she was sent home from work over braids
Lettia McNickle, from Montreal, Canada, came out victorious after filing a lawsuit against her ex-employer alleging gender and racial discrimination. She is expected to receive $14,500 from Madison’s New York Bar and Grill.
McNickle, who worked as a hostess in the mentioned restaurant, decided to file a lawsuit against them in November 2014. She recalled that one day after a month working there, she went to the restaurant with braided her, and her then-boss, Roulla Kyriacou, sent her home.
“I just want to encourage other black women out there to be proud of who you are, from your afro hair to your curly hair, whether you want to straighten it out, it doesn’t define you.”
“She took me aside personally and told me she did not want that kind of hairstyle in her establishment,” said McNickle while holding back tears.
The victim also stated that she hopes other restaurants and establishments can take a lesson from this and know that they can’t get away with “gender and racial” acts of discrimination. “Now that today it actually came to this [decision], I feel proud,” she said.
McNickle started working at the steakhouse in October 2014 and was fired in March 2015, and in that period, she endured Kyriacou’s ill-treatment, before taking matters to court.
She recalled that one of the first incidents happened just a few weeks after she took the job. The restaurant’s policy states that workers use long pants, but Kyriacou told McNickle to wear skirts above the knee.
A couple of weeks later, McNickle arrived at the restaurant with cornrows, and her boss went “ballistic.” “Publicly — in front of customers, in front of employees — embarrassing me and telling me that, my hairstyle, she doesn’t want it here and that the managers didn’t give her message properly,” she recalled.
Kyriacou insisted she was not racist and that she has hired people of all backgrounds. However, after reviewing the case, the Quebec Human Rights Commission ruled that Kyriacou must pay $14,500 in damages.
If they refuse to do so by December 21, the case will proceed to the Human Rights Tribunal.
Huelette McNickle, Lettia’s mom, has worked as a hairdresser for two decades. She braids her daughter’s hair and believes the court decision was a victory not only for her daughter but for other young black women who endure similar treatment at their workplace.
“I just want to encourage other black women out there to be proud of who you are, from your afro hair to your curly hair, whether you want to straighten it out, it doesn’t define you,” she stated.
“Your conduct, your character, your work ethic, your attitude, that’s what defines you.”
ANOTHER RACIAL INCIDENT
Kyriacou is not the only person involved in a problem over racial actions. An enraged father from Florida is taking legal action against the A Book’s Christian Academy, in Apopka, after they denied his son's entrance to the school because of his dreads.
Clinton Stanley Sr. enrolled his son, C.J. into the school using his a tax credit scholarship. He and his wife chose the school because it promised smaller groups and classes and focused attention on each child, something they thought would benefit their son.
Father Files Lawsuit Against School That Rejected His Son for Having Dreadlocks https://t.co/gdRpYvGUi5— Fatherly (@FatherlyHQ) December 3, 2018
"The problem is not my son's hair. The problem is a school policy that doesn’t accept my son, and others like him, for who they are."
However, on what should have been a happy first day at 1st grade for C.J, authorities at the school didn’t let the boy enter the classroom because his hair violated the school’ dress code. Stanley recorded the incident, and he can be heard emotionally trying to contain his rage in the video as he signs a withdrawal to take his son to another school.
Stanley accused the school of racial bias, and with the support of the ACLU and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, he took a formal stance, claiming the school violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“It’s not right for a school to take taxpayer dollars while singling out and shaming Black natural hair. On behalf of my son and other Black children in my community, I'm urging the Florida Department of Education to hold A Book's Christian Academy accountable,” he wrote on a blog entry on the ACLU webpage.
He also noted that officials from the school repeatedly said that his son’s collar-length hair violated the rules, but a YouTube commercial for the school shows a white kid with shoulder-length hair.
“There is something terribly wrong with grooming codes that don't respect the cultures of their student bodies,” Stanley continued. “The problem is not my son's hair. The problem is a school policy that doesn’t accept my son, and others like him, for who they are.”
A Department of Education spokesperson said they do not condone discrimination of any kind in Florida schools and were looking into the case.