Banana Republic Manager, “Lose the braids or lose your job” To Sales Associate

What happened to performance being a top measure for keeping your job or not? Depending on who your employer is, choose the wrong hairstyle and you’re headed out the door.

Destiny Tompkins, a sophomore at Purchase College, SUNY, learned the hard way. The sales associate for Banana Republic, told The Journal News/Lohud that her manager called her into his office and told her she would have to lose the braids or lose her job.

Apparently her new do didn’t go over well. Previously, she wore her hair natural.  She told The Journal News/Lohud, “I tried to explain to (the manager) that the braids protect my hair in the cold weather. My hair gets dry and brittle in the cold – it gets lots of split ends and damage.”

Those were wasted words. “He said my braids weren’t Banana Republic appropriate and were too urban and unkempt for their image.” She says he suggested that she try using Shea butter on her hair. That surely hit a sore spot. According to the published report, she said, “I feel that for a white man to tell me, a black woman, how to care for her hair was completely inappropriate.”

How does one respond to that? She wrote on her Facebook page, “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 has no intentions of returning, and is reportedly considering legal action. Late last week, New York’s WABC obtained a statement from Banana Republic, who wrote that they plan to investigate. “We are committed to upholding an inclusive environment where our customers and our employees feel respected,” the company wrote.

As for Tompkins, she is getting all kinds of job offers and says she’ll take one of them.

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