Black waitress sent home because of natural hair bun, manager cites ‘policy’
A server at a Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill was sent home during her third day of training because she was wearing her natural hair in a bun.
Akua Agyemfra, a 20-year-old college student in Toronto, said that her manager instructed women wear their hair down, but not necessarily every shift. Agyemfra wore a bun after taking out her braids to keep her hair in place and got pulled aside.
Buzzfeed reports when Agyemfra took out the bun to show the assistant general manager her natural hair wouldn’t lay flat if left out, she says the manager sent her home.
“She was really nice about it,” said Agyemfra. “But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that she sent me home.”
Agyemfra had worn extensions during her interview as well as during the first two days of training, but she wanted freedom to wear her hair naturally.
“I know most black women at restaurants are forced to wear wigs or weaves or extensions, or are forced to straighten their hair everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I think extensions look great. I’ve been wearing them ever since I was a little girl. I love when I get my braids. It’s the protective style I choose and works for me,” she said. “But why am I scrutinized when I decide to to take them out? That’s not fair.
“I’m not going to compromise my roots and edges because my employer wants me to. My scalp has a right to breathe just as much as the woman standing beside me.”
Agyemfra said that she hopes she can influence future employers at Jack Astor’s to change the policy and to influence more inclusive diversity standards.
“Hopefully moving forward women working there will not feel pressured and will be able to wear their hair how they please,” she said. “I just want the women there to be able to express themselves accordingly and make a difference!”