Former Banana Republic Employee Sues Company Over Trying to Ban Her Braids, Labeling Them "Urban"

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2016/10/23: Banana Republic store signage. Banana Republic is an American clothing and accessories retailer. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Former Banana Republic Employee Sues Company Over Trying to Ban Her Braids, Labeling Them "Urban"

Don't touch (or talk about) my hair.

Published November 15, 2017

We get it, many employees struggle with being perceived as "too Black" in the workplace when testing out different hairstyles. It's a ridiculous reality that we face daily. 

Turn out former Banana Republic employee Destiny Tompkins is now suing the company due to her manager, a non-person of color, calling her braids "too urban and unkempt" for the Banana Republic culture at the Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York.

According to Destiny's viral Facebook post, she explains the situation to her followers. After the district manager came into the store for a visit, she was told to go speak to her direct manager for a meeting. Her manager told her "braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too 'urban' and 'unkempt' for their image."

We know Black women wear braids and different protective styles to avoid heat damage, but also to keep moisture in our hair during colder seasons. Destiny explained to her manager "it was a protective style for my hair because it tends to become really brittle in the cold, he recommended that I use shea butter for it instead."

The teen continued, "Box braids are not a matter of unprofessionalism, they are protective styles Black women have used for their hair and to be discriminated against because of it is truly disgusting and unacceptable." Not to mention her manager threatened to not schedule her shifts until she took them out. The 19-year-old will be suing the company for $1 million due to their discriminatory acts.

Of course with the viral post receiving 57K shares on Facebook, Banana Republic had to respond. A spokesperson from Banana Republic stated that “as a company, we have zero tolerance for discrimination. We take this matter very seriously and we are actively conducting an investigation. We are committed to upholding an inclusive environment where our customers and our employees feel respected."

We definitely hear you, sis, and totally support you and understand your frustration.

Written by Brianna Allen

(Photo: Getty Images)


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