Waitress Sent Home For Her Hairstyle

| by Sheena Vasani
Akua AgyemfrahAkua Agyemfrah

A waitress in Canada was reportedly sent home during a work shift for wearing her hair in a bun.

Assistant manager Sabrina Chiodo allegedly told recent hire Akua Agyemfra, 20, to go home after finding her working on the third day of training with her hair up, CBC reports.

As Agyemfra explained, "a lot of Caucasian people don't really understand" that she can’t wear her hair down in the way others can.

“Unless your hair is permed, rarely does a black women's hair stay down when it's straightened," she added in a personal message to CBC's Makda Ghebreslassie. "It may stay laid for a few hours but that style is only temporary. I just want equality. If a women, white or black, is more comfortable with their hair up, I don't understand why it's such an issue at a restaurant setting.”

To illustrate the difficulties she faces wearing her hair down, the waitress took her hair out of the bun for Chiodo to see.

"She understood,” Agyemfra said. “She realized I couldn't wear my hair like that during a shift, that it looked ridiculous.”

Although the assistant manager was kind about it, she sent her home after adding that, "a lot of the girls were talking about my hair and that it was in a bun and theirs isn't.”

While Chiodo did not deny sending the server because her hair was in a bun, Kathryn Long -- the national marketing manager for Canadian casual chain Jack Astor's Bar and Grill -- said waitresses can wear their hair either up or down.

The company is currently reviewing its dress code policy.

A spokeswoman with the Ontario Human Rights Commission said of the incident that, "[when] setting out dress codes to meet business needs, employers should not rely on stereotypes or sexist ideas of how men or women should look."

As for the server, she is determinedly keeping both her head and hair up.

"I know most black women at restaurants are forced to wear wigs or weaves or extensions, or are forced to straighten their hair every day," she said. "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."

Sources: CBC (2) / Photo credit: CBC

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