“It was very humiliating,” says staffer Cree Ballah.
Hair we go again.
When Zara employee Cree Ballah arrived at work with her hair in box braids pulled back into a ponytail, she says she was confronted by not one, but two managers who reportedly asked the 20-year-old to remove her braids, while leading her out of the store, into the busy Toronto mall.
“We’re not trying to offend you,” Ballah was told, “but we’re going for a clean professional look with Zara and the hairstyle you have now is not the look for Zara.”
The managers proceeded to try and “fix” her hair. Ballah tells CBC News, “It was very humiliating.” She left the mall hurt and upset.
“My hair type is also linked to my race, so to me, I felt like it was direct discrimination against my ethnicity in the sense of what comes along with it,” said Ballah who identifies as biracial. “My hair type is out of my control and I try to control it to the best of my ability, which wasn’t up to standard for Zara.”
It should be noted that Zara has no formal policy regarding employee’s hairstyles. Their employees are just asked to look professional. Ballah, who was not satisfied how company officials chose to handle the issue, says she will likely quit her job and file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Looks like Canada might not be the best escape plan after all, should Trump become president.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.