A legal claim against the national video and audio company, Encore, was announced November 30th, after Jeffrey Thornton was denied the job because of his hair.
Jeffrey Thornton says he was denied a job with the company located in San Diego after refusing to cut his locs. Thornton claims to have worked for the company at its Florida location, but was furloughed due to COVID-19 before receiving an invite to contact the company about other positions. After applying to the San Diego location, he says the hiring manager of the company allegedly told Thornton he needed to first trim his locks off his ears, eyes and shoulders, to land the job, according to state court documents.
Thornton applied for the technical supervision position, and says he was told by the hiring manager that he was fully qualified–and that he would just need to cut his hair “in order to get the position.”
I expected that I was to remove my ear gauges. I’d be willing to trim my facial hair, but I wasn’t prepared to be told that I would need to cut my hair to comply with Encore standards. – Jeffrey Thornton
Thornton says this incident violates the CROWN Act. An act that was signed into law in 2019, making California the first state to ban natural hairstyle discrimination. The Act prohibits discrimination against natural hair, acknowledging it as a violation of racial discrimination. About 14 other states across the US have taken up the CROWN Act, as well.
According to Fox 5 (San Diego’s Fox News channel), the spokesperson for Encore Global put in a statement claiming the situation as a “miscommunication” in regards to their grooming policy.
We regret any miscommunication with Mr. Thornton regarding our standard grooming policies — which he appears to fully meet and we have made him an offer of employment. We are continuously looking to learn and improve, and we are reviewing our grooming policies to avoid potential miscommunications in the future. – Encore Global Spokesperson
The Encore company is based in Chicago, but is a global provider of technology and production services for events at major hotel brands across 20 countries.