A former sales person at a Slidell, La., LA Fitness has filed a discrimination complaint after being told via text message she was removed from the work schedule because her hair “doesn’t meet LA FITNESS STANDARDS in a fro”. In addition to 26-year-old Aireial Mack’s fro being called unprofessional, the text message went on to say, “We want a classy appearance. We don’t want to leak off a n–ger style don’t take it wrong, just change it.”
According to the Advocate, Mack complained to the gym’s general manager, Mark Mayeux, and she was fired days later. In March, Mack filed a complaint with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights against LA Fitness. Mack alleges that the text messaging incident wasn’t the only racist thing that happened to her on the job, and she routinely had to deal with racism from her white male co-workers. At one point, Mack alleges that a coworker stated, “Doesn’t she look good for a black girl? Look at her butt.”
With all of the evidence presented by Mack to the commission, the agency stated that LA Fitness violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, “because (Mack) was taken off the schedule due to her natural hair.” Mack was then issued a “right to sue” statement by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Of course LA Fitness denies being racist, and said Mack was fired for excessive sick days and a poor work ethic. It looks like they’ll have to prove all of that in court, because that’s where Mack says they’ll see her next.