Destiny Tompkins Files $1 Million Discrimination Lawsuit Against Banana Republic After Ex-Store Manager Called Her Braids 'Too Urban'

LONDON - MARCH 20: Members of the public pass the Banana Republic store on a rainy day on the corner of Regent Street and Marlborough Road on March 20, 2008 in London. It is the first flagship store of Banana Republic to be opened in Europe.  (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

Destiny Tompkins Files $1 Million Discrimination Lawsuit Against Banana Republic After Ex-Store Manager Called Her Braids 'Too Urban'

The former employee says she was removed from the schedule for refusing to change her hair.

Published October 9, 2017

UPDATE:

Destiny Tompkins has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Banana Republic after an ex-store manager called her hair "too urban."

In court documents obtained by TMZ, Tompkins alleges the white manager, who was eventually fired, told her that her box braids were "unkempt" and didn't fit the image of the company. When Destiny explained her hair was a protective style used by many Black women, the manager allegedly suggested she try to use "shea butter." 

Additionally, when Destiny refused to change her hairstyle, she was taken off the store's work schedule.

Destiny's suit was filed against Banana Republic's corporate office, as well as the store and regional managers, for at least $1 million. 

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A 19-year-old employee at a Banana Republic in Westchester County, New York, says a regional manager reprimanded her for wearing box braids.  

According to ABC 7, Destiny Tompkins, a student at SUNY Purchase, has worked at the White Plains location for about a month and was unaware of any “dress code” surrounding hair. On Wednesday, Thompkins was called into a meeting with her manager, where she was told her hair was “too urban.”

"He said, 'The district manager came in and she pointed out your hair." I said, 'What is wrong with my hair?'" Thompkins told ABC 7. "'It is a little too urban and unkempt for our look and image. We were wondering if you could take them out.'"

Tompkins also said the manager, who she describes as a 30-something white male, said he could not schedule her for shifts until she took them out.

"I said, 'OK, I was looking for a new job anyway. He said, 'Oh, you can quit today if you want,'" Thompkins told ABC 7.

After the meeting, the Harlem native was so upset she took her story to Facebook, where it quickly went viral. 

"When I tried to explain to him that it was a protective style for my hair bc it tends to become really brittle in the cold, he recommended that I use shea butter for it instead. I have never been so humiliated and degraded in my life by a white person. In that moment, I felt so uncomfortable and overwhelmed that I didn’t even finish my work shift and ended up leaving," she wrote.

In a statement sent to Buzzfeed News, Banana Republic says the store manager has been fired. 

"This week, one of our store managers questioned an African-American employee’s braided hair style. Our team began an immediate investigation and the manager involved was promptly removed from the store. Today we concluded the investigation and can confirm that the manager has been terminated from the company. Banana Republic has zero tolerance for discrimination. This situation was completely unacceptable, counter to our policies, and in no way reflects our company’s beliefs and values," said Sheikina Liverpool, a Banana Republic spokesperson.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

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