Is this discrimination? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 10-05-2009, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A few months ago, I had short hair. When I decided to let it grow out again, I had to start putting it in a headband. It's in that weird phase, you know. A few months before that, I stopped wearing makeup. Why should I? Then my boss told me I looked young and not professional. We started wearing uniforms so I figured the problem was solved. Today he told me I looked dirty. In fact, he went on and on about how my hair looked like it hadn't been washed in days sometimes and how I looked like I just rolled out of bed. I press my clothes before I come in, I wash my hair. It is naturally greasy and we've been out of regular shampoo so I've been using castile soap which dries it out, but I'm clean, it's brushed and back in a headband. I lost some weight and my clothes don't always fit right but there is nothing I can do about it. This all started when I stopped wearing make up and started putting my hair back in a headband. I'm going to get shampoo and conditioner tomorrow to try to remedy that. I don't really want to get my hair cut. I can't buy new clothes... Anyway, I talked to a coworker who said she doesn't know where he's coming from. She knows that I have bad hair issues with my scalp, etc. (she does too) but said that it's never been bad for there to be a problem with the way I looked.

First, can I have a hug? I'm embarrassed that this happened. Second, any kind of support would be nice and I'd like to know if this is discrimination.
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#2 of 29 Old 10-05-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Sorry no real suggestions. Maybe your boss is just worried about you? One day your hair was one way, you were wearing makeup the next you weren't. I am guessing even though you have to wear uniforms, that they aren't free?

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#3 of 29 Old 10-05-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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I'll make the cookie dough, you put in Bridget Jones, we'll make it through this! Who's got the wine????
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#4 of 29 Old 10-05-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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Well, I think it was just down right rude and mean to say those things. Is there human resourse that you could talk to, maybe?

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#5 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for happy thoughts. He's the owner. Very small business. I know he's not worried about me or he wouldn't have said it that way. My hair is just greasy sometimes--- it's just the way my hair is. Way to embarrass me and make me feel like crap though. I chase after a 20 month old all morning and afternoon and at 4:30 when I come in I'm supposed to look like a professional businesswoman...in a frumpy polo and tennis shoes?!?! bleh. bedtime.
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#6 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I tried new shampoo and conditioner and as is always my problem, it aggravates the hyperkaratosis on the back of my scalp. (which a dermatologist said the only thing to help it would be to leave it alone as much as I can...) So I guess I'll just have to deal with it. I'm still pretty pissed but I stopped crying about it. I don't know what else I can do. I guess I could try to sink some money into new khakis that maybe actually fit. I could try to hit up the second hand stores this weekend. I wish I didn't have to work. I never want to go back.
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#7 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 10:48 AM
 
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I'm so sorry, HikeMama! Your boss is just RUDE. REALLY RUDE!! The problem is not you at all, it's him.
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#8 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 11:47 AM
 
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Well, your boss is a UAV for sure.

That being said, have you thought about going 'poo free? I know there are many people on this forum who have more experience than I. The basic concept is that you don't use shampoo anymore. Instead you use baking soda to wash your hair and apple cider vinegar to condition. No, you won't stink, really. It works best for hair that hasn't been permed, coloured or high lighted. I used this combination for a while and it seemed to work really well.
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#9 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 02:16 PM
 
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I think it is discrimination I have no clue who you can talk to if he's the owner of a small business. Telling a woman she needs to wear make-up, keep her hair a certain way, etc BURNS ME UP.

Don't be embarrassed that the boss is a UAV. I hope you don't have to work there much longer.

((I had a problem in college with a male teacher who insisted all female students wear skirts and make-up to his class. I took it up with his dean, who agreed. In the freaking teacher ed program! The guys could come in wearing whatever they wanted- jersey's, t-shirts, sneakers. Apparently, that was "professional attire" for them, but not for the ladies ))

eta- maybe call your local Better Business Bureau? Surely they would be able to point you in the right direction.

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#10 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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I don't know if it's discrimination but it sure is rude.

I have been in the position of having to tell a sales person (I worked in retail) that customers and co-workers had complaints about cleanliness issues. I know there is no fun way to do it, but you don't have to be mean.

As for hair, have you tried something like Snake Oil from Lush? They don't seem to keep it in stock regularly and you may have to check online. It seems to help a lot of scalp issues. They have a few shampoos and conditioners that help as well. I've recommended them to people and used them myself from time to time (I seem to have seasonal scalp issues, just like my dog, tyvm. Nice).
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#11 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 03:00 PM
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I'm sorry about your boss.

Would it help to use a dry "shampoo" on your hair? I don't know if it would be possible to do that and keep the powder away from your scalp.

I know I wouldn't want to bring up the subject, but maybe it would be worth it to ask him straight out, what are the issues you have with my appearance? Then you'd know for sure and could decide how to address each thing. (For example, I don't think it's reasonable to require people to wear make-up so I might not do that. But if he brought up the fit of the uniform and I thought he had a point, I might hit thrift stores to try to remedy the situation. And if he brought up the hair, it would be reasonable to tell him that there is an underlying medical issue.)

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#12 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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I know you said it's a small company, but do you have a company handbook that has a written dress code? If so, I'd check it out and point out to your boss that you're within the code's guidelines.

If there isn't a handbook, I'd probably play dumb and ask the boss to see the written dress code. When he says there isn't one, ask him to let you know when there is so that you can be sure you're complying with it, since the current standards seem to be changeable and are confusing.

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#13 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I'm so not going to attempt shampoo-free at this point. I don't feel like I have a choice but to try and do what he wants me to. I am going to buy new pants that fit better tonight if I can. I am going to try to do my hair differently. I guess I'll put on some makeup. I will never feel the same about it there. He said I don't smell. I said "Well, NO, because I'm not dirty!" He said "well, it's not just me..." I said OK- I'll do what I can? One thing that bugged me was that he complained about a day a week or 2 ago when I came in looking bad because I was in bad pain because I had hurt my back- and he knew that I had hurt my back... and he said I looked like I rolled out of bed and I know for a fact that my clothes were ironed because my husband had to do it because I was in so much pain. I have spoken with one of my coworkers about this and others who see me on a regular basis and they don't get it. I know my coworker would tell me the truth- she is very blunt like that. I am considering talking to the other 2 about it because we work in relatively close contact and I'd like to explain to them (that it hurts, that they can tell me themselves, that I have a scalp condition? I don't know... That I am not going to cower and be ashamed that this happened?) ... I don't know.. It just sucks. I am clean. I can't always wash my hair everyday. Not only do I not always have the time, but it bothers my scalp. I just wish he would've said "You're a really good worker and I think we're doing really good on collections, but with this class you teach, what I'm looking for is your hair to be fixed extra because it's a really professional look we're trying to achieve." or... "I know you're busy at home with the baby, and you're doing really good, but...." You know, that would've softened the blow. Not "Your appearance for the last month or so, I mean- there have been times you've come in and it looks like you haven't washed your hair in days and it looks like you just rolled out of bed. I almost canceled your class [on the day I was in pain and almost didn't come in] because of it and, today is a good day, but last week, I should've had a camera and taken a picture."

I keep telling myself I am not my hair but somehow, my ego just feels so bruised. To think that someone else had told him this... I am just so busy at work and at home right now, I didn't need this. I admitted that life has been crazy and maybe I haven't been paying enough attn. to how I look when I leave for work. And then we went on business as usual, but, sometimes he can be such an a**hole in so many different ways. Like telling us it's hard to make payroll and then going to the bahamas, and waving your money around in our faces while we make crap, and nit-picking the numbers we bill out and, I guess i just feel underappreciated in general and am fed up. Granted, they've been good to me about scheduling and working from home, etc. but the pressure and.. ugh.

We looked at our budget and I have to keep working right now- at least until some of our bills are paid off, we close on our house and our house is fixed up. I don't think it's worth it for me to find another job because this one works with my daughter's schedule so well. I think I'm done ranting in a ridiculously long post, but I'd still love your thoughts, ideas and support. Thanks.

and what is UAV? I looked it up in the acronyms but I couldn't find it. I'm sure it means something that he certainly is! ;-)
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#14 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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I'll make the cookie dough, you put in Bridget Jones, we'll make it through this! Who's got the wine????
I have the wine! Thanks to our little JuneBug, I can't have it for quite some time

I second the call to the BBB. Unfortunately, there really isn't anything can do since he owns the place, but the BBB may be able to help. I hope something works out for you. Men can be such pigs. Blaaah

(enough hugs? )

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#15 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HikeMama View Post
and what is UAV? I looked it up in the acronyms but I couldn't find it. I'm sure it means something that he certainly is! ;-)
UAV = user agreement violation. It's what people type instead of name-calling, which is prohibited.

I'm sorry you're feeling so down -- that must be really hard.

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#16 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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"Discrimination" in an actionable sense is limited to what are called "protected classes": race, gender, sometimes (but rarely) age, etc. This probably isn't "discrimination" in a meaningful, legal way. Someone in Nevada tried to sue for gender discrimination when she was fired from a casino for not wearing makeup. She lost; the Nevada courts decided the employer could require makeup from female employees without it being gender discrimination. That doesn't mean you'd lose in your state necessarily, but it's a thin argument.

Getting past that, . I remember once I was at work at a restaurant and my manager was like "Hey, vegasgr...how far away from work do you live?" And I was like "15 minutes?" And he said "K, cuz you need to go home and iron your shirt." I was utterly devastated, cried the whole way home, the whole time I ironed. I was going through some MAJOR crap at that point in my life, and maybe was a bit neglectful about the ironing, but the timing SUCKED. I completely understand how you're feeling. It sucks. But you're probably right in that you kind of need to play by his rules at his place of business.

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#17 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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Ok, making someone iron a shirt, I can see but makeup is a different matter.

Asking someone to keep their appearance neat does not have to be about wearing makeup.

I am for you.

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#18 of 29 Old 10-06-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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Yeah, the makeup thing is ridiculous, what about plucking or waxing eybrows, shaving armpit or leg hair, etc? Those things are not about hygeine but about a societal expectation of what someone should look like. Fumes me too.

I get the embarassment though. At my last job an old man complained bc I was bent over filing papers and he saw my cleavage. My boss asked me to dress more conservatively at work. It was pretty embarassing, esp bc a couple of my coworkers were nasty to me in general and they loved that!

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I'm sorry, HikeMama. He should not have said that. Everybody deserves to be treated with respect, and he *at least* should have voiced his concerns gently and professionally.

Once you're feeling less bruised, you might request a specific dress code from him, and ask him that in the future, he address any problems in terms of the dress code, rather than treating you unprofessionally.

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#20 of 29 Old 10-07-2009, 12:46 AM
 
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I'm sorry that sounds terrible!

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#21 of 29 Old 10-07-2009, 01:01 AM
 
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I don't know if it's discrimination but it sure is rude.
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#22 of 29 Old 10-07-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I'd consider it discrimination based on gender, only because men don't have to wear make up. You never see an employer tell his male employee that he needs to put some make up on.

However, I realize that most courts probably won't recognize that as discrimination. Grrrr.

I'm so sorry your boss said that to you. I definitely think he could have phrased all of that in a very professional, non-insulting manner. Minus the make up part, as that just wasn't necessary.

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#23 of 29 Old 10-07-2009, 01:25 AM
 
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I'm so sorry. Once I had a boss tell my my (new) skirt looked unprofessional and I don't remember how he said it, but basically he meant slutty. He was originally from another country and he was trying to be discreet but I was horrified. It was a very thin material and I didn't realize it could be considered slovenly. I totally cried that night.

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#24 of 29 Old 10-08-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I cut my hair. It obviously was just too hard for me to maintain to his standards with any length to it. I did talk to another employee about it who was also shocked and appalled by what he said. It looks fine now that it's cut.

I think that was his main issue. Even though the other employees don't tuck in their shirts, I started tucking mine in. I don't know why I need to do things like this and they don't but whatever. (actually I guess I do know- he has said before that it's my age and if I don't go the extra mile I look too juvenile and not professional enough.) I wore a little makeup the other day and felt like an a**.

I think I'll go on pretending like it never happened when I'm around him though so I can forget it. blah.
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#25 of 29 Old 10-08-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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So I tried new shampoo and conditioner and as is always my problem, it aggravates the hyperkaratosis on the back of my scalp. (which a dermatologist said the only thing to help it would be to leave it alone as much as I can...) So I guess I'll just have to deal with it. I'm still pretty pissed but I stopped crying about it. I don't know what else I can do. I guess I could try to sink some money into new khakis that maybe actually fit. I could try to hit up the second hand stores this weekend. I wish I didn't have to work. I never want to go back.
What size are you? i might have some that i could send...

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#26 of 29 Old 10-08-2009, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the offer, so kind of you. I am a 0P.
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#27 of 29 Old 10-08-2009, 02:54 PM
 
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oh and might i add this happens to me at work ALL THE TIME and then some! its crazy what people think and are able to get away with!

s

PM me about the above if you want

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#28 of 29 Old 10-08-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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Thank you for the offer, so kind of you. I am a 0P.
awe man! they are a 6-8p darn! let me look and see what i can find.

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#29 of 29 Old 10-08-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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Wow. That is just plain mean. I am so sorry he treated you like that.
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