what is the law on dreadlocks on the job

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what is the law on dreadlocks on the job

I was hired at Dobbs Tire and Auto in August of this year and at the time I was
hired I was wearing my hair in dreads. I asked the Supervisor that was interveiwing
me about my hair and I was told my hair would not be a problem. Today, 5 months
later, I was told that I have 2 weeks to make a decision whether I would cut my hair
are I would not have a job. The area manager told me that there is a policy
pertaining to dreads but it was not being enforced at the time I was hired so it is
not the fault of the supervisor for hiring me with dreads. I have not seen the policy.

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Most employment arrangments relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. That is unless doing so would violate the terms of any applicable employment contract or union agreement. Also, no form of that is legally actionable discrimination must be the reason for an employee's treatment. Accordingly, absent the foregoing, you have no claim. That having been said, if you wear dreadlocks as part of your religion, unless it would be an undue hardship on your company's business operations, it must "reasonably accommodate" your religious beliefs or practices, which includes such things as dress or grooming practices (i.e. wearing certain hairstyles such dreadlocks). That having been said, since courts have ruled split on this issue depending upon the specific circumstances of the case, you can contact your state's department of labor and/or speak with a local employment law attorney to be certain of your rights.


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