A Minnesota company that operates hair salons worldwide has agreed to pay $90,000 to settle allegations of illegal termination springing from racial discrimination allegations at one of its North Carolina salons.
Regis Corp., doing business as Smart Style Family Hair Salon, also agreed to provide training on retaliation to all supervisors, managers and employees at its North Carolina and South Carolina salons.
The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleged that two former Smart Style employees in Pembroke, N.C., Hope Hunt and Annie Mae Locklear, were fired in 2014 after they told an African American stylist that she was not hired because of her race. The women alleged that their manager had told them not to hire African American stylists.
Qcitymetro was unable to contact officials at Regis Corp., but in the company’s response to the EEOC, the manager denied telling the women to avoid hiring African Americans. Such actions would violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee who complains about discrimination.
The company’s consent agreement with the federal government will last for two years. It also requires Regis to report the action it takes in response to any employee’s complaint about discrimination. Regis also must post a notice to employees concerning their rights under federal, anti-discrimination laws.
“Punishing employees who oppose discriminatory employment practices violates federal law and only makes a bad situation worse,” Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, said in a statement announcing the settlement.
According to the company’s website, Regis operates salons under various names, including Super Cuts and Hair Crafters. Some of its salons are in Charlotte.