Upscale Salon That Banned Afros And Box Braids Must Now Teach Employees How To Style Black Hair (And Pay $70K Fine)

Washing hair area at a salon
Photo Credit: E+

Justice will finally be served at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger after employees filed discrimination lawsuits against the salon. Employees reported being singled out (and one was even fired) for wearing afros and box braids as they did “not reflect the upscale image of the neighborhood,” reported the New York Times in February.

[SEE ALSO: NYC Places First-Ever Ban On Hair Discrimination]

The New York City-based salon, whose clients have included Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, has earned a reputation for its $1,000 haircuts and 24K haircare line infused with, you guessed it, pure gold.

“Can’t be 3 girls at the desk. 2 like this and 1 w/ big Afro,” wrote co-owner Sharon Dorram to former general manager David Speer in one text dated August 17, 2015. “What is our image Please instruct them not to wear hair down and no nose rings.” In another, she said dreads “looked awful.”

Speer was the first of four to file complaints with the commission.

Taren Guy (now known as Auset Eyowaku), who did not file a complaint, was one of the three women referenced in the texts. Instead, the wellness coach and former beauty influencer said she quit the day the hair policy was introduced.

According to the New York Times, Guy called the new hair rules “a cop-out “They were trying to figure out a way to have me not wear my hair like this [in an afro].”

The salon must now pay a $70,000 fine to the New York City Human Rights Commission. The salon must now also “train employees to work with Black hair and help advance the careers of stylists who are not White,” reported the New York Times. This includes starting an internship program specifically for stylists from underrepresented groups. 

Of note, this is also the first racial bias case to be settled after the New York City Human Rights Commission established its first-ever ban against hair discrimination (prior to the C.R.O.W.N. Act).

About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon serves as digital media director for Hype Hair and founder/Black beauty directory for Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the premier directory Black-owned beauty brands.