Two African-American teens say they were denied jobs at Six Flags because of their hair. Both of them were reportedly told that they could only work at the amusement park if they would cut their hair.
Brandon Kobe Pierce, a 16-year old teen who has always worn his hair in a single braid just past his shoulders since childhood, was recently interviewed for a job at Six Flags Over Texas. He was disappointed when the interviewers told him he wouldn’t be allowed to wear his braid, which he already considers a part of his identity.
Pierce added that the interviewers said that having long hair in a bun is allowed on women employees, but not on male employees.
“If girls are able to pull their hair back and have it long, then guys shouldn’t have to cut their hair,” he told WFAA-TV.
Another 17-year old teen, Keiron Washington, said he had the same experience on a job interview at Six Flags. He said the interviewer told him he should cut the shoulder-length dreadlocks that he had been growing for years “because it’s more of an extreme hairstyle.”
Washington’s mother, Karis Washington, shared what happened on Facebook. She wrote she called Six Flags Human Resources to ask for a more detailed explanation and an employee answered that “dreads are NOT allowed, but he can have braids. And said they are an extreme hairstyle. She also went on and compared them to tattoos and piercings.”
“Why cut his hair for a seasonal job and for $7-$9 an hour? If it was a career, different story,” Karis Washington told NBC DFW.
Six Flags released the following statement regarding both incidents:
“Six Flags is one of the largest seasonal employers in the country, hiring more than 30,000 team members across 26 parks annually. We maintain a company-wide grooming code that includes standard uniforms for front-line team members and no extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair color, locks or partially shaven heads. We do permit braids, and we also recognize that some team members may request accommodations to our grooming code due to religious, cultural or medical reasons. We work with those team members on a case-by-case basis to address his or her individual needs.”