Teen Alleges Racial Bias After Being Sent Home From Chic-fil-A Job Due To ‘Unnatural’ Blonde Hair

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A Black teenage girl was shocked when she was forced to leave her job at Chick-fil-A due to her natural hair color (blonde) going against company policy, reports People.

On July 13, Autumn Williams’s supervisor abruptly removed her from the counter position, explaining that her hair color infringed upon the company’s dress code policy.

“She said since blonde is an unnatural color to you, we’re going to have to ask you to leave and not come back until the blonde is out of your hair,”

the North Carolina teen told PEOPLE.

“She said we understand that’s a long process and might not be easy, so email when you can come back.”

Autumn found herself at a loss for words, unsure of how to react.

“This is the color of my hair,”

she expressed.

“I didn’t know what they wanted me to do.”

Hoping for clarification, she continued with her shift expecting the matter to be addressed later . However, her supervisor shocked her when she demanded she leave immediately. Autumn reread the employee handbook, which stated that

“hairstyles must be neat and professional in appearance”

and that

“unnatural hair colors or eccentric styles (e.g. Mohawks, shaven designs, etc.) are not permitted.” 

Feeling shocked and humiliated, she dialed her mother, Nina Burch, who promptly arrived and noticed another worker flouting the natural hair color rule.

“I’m looking at this Caucasian boy with bleached blonde hair and black tips and I’m sure that’s not a natural hair color,”

Burch told People.

“So this is beginning to look a little racist to me.”

Burch revealed that the supervisor justified her actions by stating she was merely following instructions from someone in HR who had deemed Autumn non-compliant. However, when Burch tried reaching out to the HR representative, he insisted that he had already informed Autumn about the dress code violation.

“The only thing he told me during orientation was that I had to keep my hair off my face, which I understood and did,”

Autumn told the news outlet.

Burch told the supervisor that he needed to provide more clarification, considering that Autumn’s hair color was natural.

“I told him when we go home and take these braids out, when my daughter comes back, her hair is going to be this color, essentially, because this is her natural color,”

Burch says.

Since the incident, Autumn has handed in her resignation to her employer and has sought new employment opportunities. She has successfully found another job. 

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