Toronto resident Akua Agyemfra, 20, was unexpectedly sent home from her job at Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill for wearing her natural hair up in a bun.
In an interview with CBC News, Agyemfra explained that the establishment required its female employees to wear their hair down, however, she had recently taken out her extensions and wished to wear her natural hair up. It was at this point that her manager allegedly asked her to leave and not return until her strands were down. While we can’t quite fathom why a restaurant would require its servers to wear their mane loose, Agyemfra’s story feels particularly enraging.
Of her interaction with her manager, she said, “I take pride in my natural hair. I took it out for her in the office so she can see that it doesn’t really go down. She understood that, from my understanding.” Unfortunately, her manager still sent her home, thereby causing Agyemfra to have “embarrassing” conversations with her fellow employees about the reason for her sudden departure.
This whole exchange is disheartening. It seems as though Agyemfra’s only two options were to continue wearing extensions or opt for her preferred, natural texture. However, if she chose the latter, she wouldn’t be able to style it in a way she found “more professional.” Both of these choices were ultimately disadvantageous. We hope that this event can lead to thoughtful dialogue about arbitrary (and possibly insensitive) hair requirements such as these.
This post was originally published on March 15, 2016.