A Texas teen says he was turned away from a summer job at Six Flags because of his hairstyle.
For the last three years, Kerion Washington, 17, has been growing out his dreadlocks, which are now shoulder length. Washington never thought his hair would keep him from getting a part-time job, but when he went to interview for a Six Flags job on Saturday, he was told his locs were considered an “extreme hairstyle.” An HR representative told the teen he could continue with the interview process once his hair was cut, reported KXAS-TV.
"I just don't even believe it," Washington told KXAS. "That I would have to do that just to work there. They told me that I couldn't have dreads, because it's more of an extreme hairstyle."
Washington’s mother, Karis Washington, said she called the human resources department to get more information. Karis described her conversation with HR in a Facebook post.
“I told her I read the grooming policy and it says your hair cannot hang more than [two] inches below your collar and [two] inches above your head including dreads, braids, etc. Nowhere did I read dreads are not allowed,” Karis wrote on Facebook. “Then she said she can see how I got confused but dreads are not allowed.”
For Kerion, a summer job at an amusement park was not worth the value of his hair, and his mother agreed.
“Why cut his hair for a seasonal job and for $7 to $9 an hour?” Karis said to the local news station. “If it was a career, different story.”
In a statement to KXAS-TV, the theme park said its grooming policy did not include “extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair color, locks or partially shaven heads.”
“Six Flags is one of the largest seasonal employers in the country, hiring more than 30,000 team members across 26 parks annually. We maintain a company-wide grooming code that includes standard uniforms for front-line team members and no extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair color, locks or partially shaven heads,” the statement read. “We do permit braids and we also recognize that some team members may request accommodations to our grooming code due to religious, cultural or medical reasons. We work with those team members on a case-by-case basis to address his or her individual needs.”
Karis said some good has come from this difficult time. After posting about the incident to Facebook, the mother received several job offers for Kerion. Karis is certain her son will have a seasonal job after all.