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To not straighten my hair after my boss telling me to?

(246 Posts)
katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:38:02

I work as a concierge and thus always on view to the public. I also have curly hair. Today, my boss took me aside to tell me that my hair looks unkempt as it is and that it would be in the interest of me keeping the job to straighten it!

Now, my hair get a bit frizzy sometimes but is otherwise well maintained. It is naturally curly and I like it that way. I told my boss (politely) where to stick it and he just said that I agreed when I signed my contract to be presentable and I should suck it up (he would like to wear a beard but it would be frowned upon apparently hmm...not the same thing either!). That he takes a dim view of me arguing with him.

I think he is totally wrong to ask me to change something about myself and that it is verging on the discrimatory. However, I also know how difficult it would be to find another job too in this market. I know the job centre would take a dim view of getting sacked!


ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Thu 15-Sep-11 16:39:34

YANBU, maybe just tie it back for work or something?

Proudnscary Thu 15-Sep-11 16:39:53

Yes you bloody well should straighten your hair AND have gel nails applied.

And welcome to Mumsnet.

Fimbo Thu 15-Sep-11 16:40:02

Surely they wouldn't be able to sack you on the grounds of curly hair hmm

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:40:48

It is tied back about 80% of the time. I like to show it off on really good hair days smile

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:41:38

Thanks for the welcome. I was sent here by a friend who ahd to convince me it was ok because I'm not a mum!

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Thu 15-Sep-11 16:42:05

I would just keep it tied back each day then. Was it tied back the day your boss told you it looked untidy?

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 16:42:56

I wouldn't straighten my curly hair for work. Yes it doesn't look as groomed as straight hair can but it doesn't follow that curly hair is unkempt.

Ignore him, if he raises it again ask him to point the section of the staff handbook or your contract that says curly hair must be straightened.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 15-Sep-11 16:43:09

Isn't overuse of straighteners likely to damage your hair and end up making it frizzier? (I don't know, mine is dead straight but my DD has unruly hair so I want to know what works!)

Some combination of conditioners/tying back would surely be better?

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:43:18

I was in a bun with few loose curls when he told me it was untidy.

woowoo2 Thu 15-Sep-11 16:43:32

YANBU - surely it is discrimination to ask you to straighten your hair if you want to keep your job

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Thu 15-Sep-11 16:44:26

Sorry but I think he is a twat!

My sister has naturally curly hair and I am sooooo jealous. Curls are beautiful. Maybe some serum or something to prevent any frizz would be wise.

Welcome to mumsnet smile

ragged Thu 15-Sep-11 16:44:35

He's being a jerk but you don't want to be out of work right now. I would tie it back and start perusing the Vacancies ads.

DoMeDon Thu 15-Sep-11 16:44:36

I have had unusual hair colours in my time - always clean, always groomed but have had to change it twice now for jobs. That's life - he's your boss and thinks you don't look presentable - his call.

ColdSancerre Thu 15-Sep-11 16:44:49

In a bun with a few loose curls is a higher standard of grooming I could only ever dream of. It sounds fine, I would stick with that.

ireallyagreewithyou Thu 15-Sep-11 16:45:01

Imagine if you had an Afro!

LDNmummy Thu 15-Sep-11 16:45:35

Ask him to put in a formal request as your superior to you and be precise in what the issue is.

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Thu 15-Sep-11 16:45:36

Is there an HR department you could go to to raise this issue formally? Is your boss generally quite chauvanistic/a bit of an arse, or was this out of the blue?

ExpensivePants Thu 15-Sep-11 16:46:14

YANBU, your boss is a prat! Is he bald perchance? Tell him bald heads aren't a good look smile

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:47:59

LOL @ ireallyagreewithyou

It's just a man and wife operation so no HR department or anything. Think a bit posher and bigger than Fawlty Towers.

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:48:37

Not bald but maybe a wig....!

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:49:42


Out of the blue. He's a real perfectionist though?

TheFarSide Thu 15-Sep-11 16:50:29

Do the male employees with curly hair have to straighten theirs?

katecreate Thu 15-Sep-11 16:53:23

I reckon I said that the men don't have to straighten their hair, the excuse would be that they dont spend as much time front of house.

jenniec79 Thu 15-Sep-11 16:54:53

speak to his boss. Assuming your hair is naturally curly it's different from being asked not to have eg green hair for work. Tell the big boss what you understood from the conversation, that you think it may have been a misunderstanding because it sounded so unreasonable. Ask for the policy in writing (so you have evidence, you won't need to spell it out tbh). Email is good for making sure there's a paper trail.

If he did try to discriminate or even fire you for your curls then you'd have absolutely no problems with an unfair dismissal claim. His boss will know this already, and may need to give your direct boss a little update in diversity awareness!

If it was any other physical attribute you wouldn't even ask the question. (Black/white/male/female/disabled/ginger/GLBT? - do we really need a word for curlyhairist!?!?!?)

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