4 Ways You Could Face Legal Discrimination in the U.S. in 2016

By Kaylah Morgan

  1. Dreadlocks
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Actress and comedian, Jessica Williams

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is legal to discriminate against employees if they wear dreadlocks. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission argued that dreadlocks are “physiologically and culturally associated” with black people, and that a grooming policy that banned dreadlocks was inherently racist. However, the courts disagreed and essentially said that job offers can be refused because of “changeable” physical appearances, even if said appearance is linked to a person’s culture.

  1. Being a black child in a predominately white school.

Before the 11th Circuit Court ruled that it was legal for employers to discriminate based on dreadlocks, a school in Kentucky made an even stronger stance against black hairstyles. Butler High School issued a new dress code for the current school year before classes started. Under “Hair/Personal Grooming,” the Louisville high school banned dreadlocks, cornrows, twists, mohawks, and hair jewelry. The policy went on to specify hair colors that were and were not acceptable for girls, and banned boys from altering their natural hair colors completely.

The school quickly received backlash from the small amount of black families enrolled at the school. Journalist Shaun King quickly responded on Twitter, with a full article that soon followed. Because schools can edit their school code of conduct and dress codes at their discretion, being black in a majority white school may lead to legal discrimination

  1. Being LGBTQ.

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Lives were changed when same sex marriage became legal in the Unites States in 2015. Some couples who had waited decades to be legally married rushed to the altar days after the ruling. Almost as quickly, many of these couples realized that they had not gotten everything that they had hoped.

Social media was flooded with stories of companies who had fired newlywed gay people to show their disapproval. The Supreme Court ruling did not grant protections to gay couples regarding employment or other rights allotted to various minority groups and identifies. Only about 20 U.S. states have outlawed workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In the rest of the nation, it is perfectly legal to fire,or refuse to hire a person solely because they are LGBTQ.

  1. Sharing Political Views.

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As the presidential race reaches the home stretch, tensions are high. Politics often find their way into conversations and settings that may not be ideal. With the beginning of debate season here, it is important to be conscience of what political conversations you take part in. Some states protect the right to share political views in the workplace, but not many. In many states, you can be legally fired for publicizing political opinions.

Some people think that the First Amendment gives a citizen the right to say what he or she pleases with no consequences. Before you make that mistake, think about all of the people who have lost their jobs by posting opinions on social media. Belief in the First Amendment does not protect against repercussions.

Sources:

http://www.bet.com/lifestyle/2016/09/22/u-s–court-rules-its-legal-to-not-hire-someone-if-they-have-drea.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-school-natural-hairstyle-ban-condemns-black-culture-article-1.2730091

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-companies-can-still-discriminate-2014-8

http://www.stylebistro.com/lookbook/Dreadlocks/Um1NvRvJngx

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