What can I do about a double standard with a prospective employer?

I recently applied for a position at a restaurant and in the interview they told me I was perfect for the job and had all the right qualifications. They said if I wanted the position I needed to change my hair color. It’s currently red but they said that they wanted it a natural color. However the company lets girls bleech their hair and have unnatural blonds. Isn’t this discrimination, allowing one color and not the other?

Asked on September 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Employment discrimination has to do with a worker receiving less favorable treatment than co-workers based on their inclusion in a "protected class". In other words, an employee cannot be treated differently due to their race, religion, disability, age (over 40), gender, nationality or the like. Merely having a different hair color does not qualify. The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly (absent the discrimination outlined above). Bottom line, an company can set the conditons of work much as it sees fit so long as such action does not violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement

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