Despite more and more African-descended people embracing their natural hair, certain hairstyles are still seen as “unprofessional” by some companies, causing employees to change their hairstyle or risk being reprimanded by their employers.

According to a petition demanding Air France reviews its policies on hair, one flight attendant claims he was forced to hide his dreadlocks under a horrible toupee to please his bosses.

The blog Afro-Europe reports that Aboubakar Traoré, a Frenchman of Ivorian descent, was hired by Air France in 1999. Although he’s been wearing dreadlocks for a while, Traoré was recently called in by management and told that his hair was harming the company’s image and that he’d have to wear a wig or risk losing his job.

Ironically, black female flight attendants are allowed to wear braids and dreadlocks, but not their male counterparts.

Earlier this month demonstrators gathered in Paris to protest Air France’s policy, and a petition was started to get the company to update its rules to reflect the ethnic diversity of its employees.

Although companies have the right to institute policies on employee appearance, allowing workers to style their hair in neat, conservative styles—despite the texture—would not only make them happier, but would signal to customers that the company is progressive and diverse.

(Any French-speaking Clutchettes care to translate?)

Discrimantion _ Air France s’acharne by AncFrance

What do you think? Would you hide your hair under a wig to keep a job?

42 Comments

  1. #DEAD at that picture of him in that wig. I will leave a proper comment after I regain my composure.

  2. CurlySue

    Not for nothing, but long hair on men in general is seen as unprofessional.

    • Yes I would happen to agree. There is no need for men over the age of 18 to have long hair, it turns my stomach when I see grown men wearing cornrows or those dirty hipsters with their dreadlocks.

    • Introverted Leo

      Oh goodness! Just last week while on the bus, I saw a guy with both of his ears pierced AND his hair in cornrows.

    • stiger

      “Dirty hipsters with deadlocks” – That’s a sad comment at best. I could understand the need to cover long hair, especially in the food services industry, but on an airplane? Please don’t get me wrong. Certain hairstyles breed the wrong impression–a la, dreadlocks, cornrows, braids, etc. Unfortunately, most of these “negative hairstyles” aren’t coincidentally attributed to people of black ethnicity. It’s a sad double standard. When Bo Derek braided her hair everyone thought it was “cutting edge” and “fashionable.” I think we all need to rethink the core issues here.

    • Mystic

      Ignorance at its finest. At one point in time, the prevailing thought was that dark skin on a human being was unclean and unhygienic. Was that alright too? Since when is “everybody thinks so” a valid logical reasoning? Free your mind. Long hair on a man is nothing more than…long hair on a man.

  3. B. Payne

    I’m sorry but that wig is distracting me from typing an intelligent response.

    Laurence Fishborne circa Ike Turner comes to mind

    • binks

      LMAO at the reference to “what love got to do with it”! But his locs looked neat and pulled back to me, and it is much better than that travesty of a wig. But it goes to show that we still have a long way to come when it comes to our hair and how other view it, particularly the styles we choose to wear. Last semester my professor (a black woman) pulled my over and said I needed to straighten my hair (I wear a curly fro) if I wanted to get a job in the legal world. I say as long as the person’s hair is neat, groomed and not distracting or hindering job performance then back off!

  4. Introverted Leo

    No, I would not hide my hair under a wig to keep a job.

  5. PinkyToe

    Didn’t Jesus have long hair? Would you fire Jesus? j/k. Had to lighten up the day a touch.

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