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On April 10, 2010, ABC 7 News of Washington, DC reported that two women were denied employment at the Six Flags in Largo, Md because of their hair styles. The women are Janet Bello and Jackie Sherrill.
Twenty-three-year-old Janet Bello says when she applied for a part-time job at Six Flags in Largo, she was told her "locks" hairstyle disqualified her from employment. She says a supervisor told her management is adhering strictly this year to a years-old corporate grooming policy that considers dreadlocks to be an extreme hairstyle. Bello considers the characterization to be offensive.
Another woman, sixty-year-old Jackie Sherrill says she worked at Six Flags last summer, and received a letter earlier this year asking her to come back. But she says when a supervisor saw that Sherrill had locks, she was told she would not be welcome back unless she changed her appearance -- despite the fact that she had the same hairstyle last year.
In another unreported incident Samuel Bowden, a lock client of Madam Walker's Braidery and School in Temple Hills, MD was hired and worked one full day. He was then let go. Bowden is a police officer with the Washington Metropolitan Police Departmernt.
According Six Flags' grooming standards for employees the company does not permit "any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags' theme." Six Flags' grooming policy is as follows: "Six Flags enforces a conservative grooming policy across all parks. The policy does not permit certain hairstyles such as variations in hair colors, dreadlocks, partially shaved heads, tails, and hairstyles that impair vision. Braided hair is allowed but must be in neat, even rows and without beads or other ornaments."
The American Civil Liberties Union believes that defining locked hair as inherently unprofessional is racially insensitive at best -- and potentially discriminatory at worst.
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"Donna, a client of Naturalcentric Hair Salon in Largo, MD, says that her son worked at Six Flags (Largo location) some years ago. After two weeks of getting very generous overtime hours, a supervisor told him and his friend who was also employed there, that they needed to shave every week because Six Flags didn't want them to have any facial hair (the boys were about 14 years old). They decided to keep their quite modest beards, and their work hours were cut more and more until they were barely on the schedule to work at all. They both sought employment elsewhere."