CDL Trainee to Sue Mega Carrier For Allegedly Being ‘Kicked Out’ Because of Hairstyle
Des Moines, IA – A Texas man plans to sue a mega carrier alleging he was dismissed from the company’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) training program because of his hairstyle.
Damon Mitchell, Jr. is accusing Des Moines, IA-based TMC Transportation of lying to him in the recruiting process and discriminating against him by unequally enforcing the carrier’s own policy regarding the personal appearance of employees.
“My dreadlocks were not company policy for them,” Mitchell told local IA news outlet WHO 13. “They have it in place where you have to have your hair a certain length above your collar. No ponytail of any sort is accepted, but that is implemented 90 days after receiving your truck.”
Mitchell claims that company recruiters assured him his hairstyle would not be an issue, but changed their tune once he arrived to orientation.
Specifically, Mitchell alleges company officials told him the problem was that his hairstyle prevented him from wearing a hard hat during his training.
Further, he contends he was “never even given a chance to put on a hard hat” because he was “kicked out on day two.”
Iowa law currently protects employers in such cases pertaining to “natural hairstyles,” but some local lawmakers like State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines are trying to change that.
Rep. Gaines is pushing to pass legislation known as the Crown Act — which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.
The bill, if approved, would prohibit race-based hair discrimination.
Similar laws are currently in effect in seven of 50 states.
“That company has everything protecting what they did to this young man,” Rep. Gains lamented to WHO 13. “A lot of people come from states that are more diverse and they are young and not used to being discriminated about this.”
As for Mitchell, he argued TMC is not enforcing its personal appearance policy equally.
“They need to make it a point of emphasis as to what they don’t want and they need to make it a point of emphasis to implement those rules on every employee,” Mitchell commented.
TMC has not responded to the allegations.
WATCH WHO 13’s report below.