A Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill waitress was allegedly fired from her job because of her natural hairstyle.
Akua Agyemfra, 20, told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News that she was sent home from the Toronto-area restaurant, Jack Astor’s, because her natural hair was put into a bun.
The assistant manager stated that the young woman was terminated because she was not wearing her hair “down or straight.”
Agyemfra was forced to take her hair out in front of other co-workers, according to her testimony. She showed that her hair couldn’t lay “down” without being processed or straightened to her superiors.
Agyemfra spoke to CBC News in an interview last week that will be part of their ongoing investigation into Canadian restaurants’ dress codes for women.
She posted on Facebook about how she felt about the incident:
“I know most Black women at restaurants are forced to wear wigs or weaves or extensions, or are forced to straighten their hair everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I think extensions look great. I’ve been wearing them ever since I was a little girl. I love when I get my braids. It’s the protective style I choose and works for me. But why am I scrutinized when I decide to to take them out? That’s not fair.”
“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.”
Many woman and young girls who have embraced natural hairstyles have generally faced backlash and have either been punished by school administrators or reprimanded by employers. Women serving in the armed forces were at one point disciplined for wearing their hair in a natural hairstyle before dress code policies were changed. As Black women move away from the hair products that damage their hair and stop assimilating to European beauty standards, society pushes back in the worst ways.
In the case of Agyemfra, she was terminated not because of her work ethic—she was still in the training process at the time– but because of her appearance. She goes into details about the awful experience in a video interview with CBC News: