Virginia Moving Firm to Pay for Hair Discrimination

August 22, 2011

A Roanoke, Va.-based moving company will pay $30,000 as part of a settlement with a Waynesboro-area man who says he was denied a job because he wouldn’t cut his long, dreadlocked hair.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit last year against Lawrence Transportation Systems on behalf of Christopher Woodson, who grows his hair as a Rastafarian religious expression. Woodson claimed the company denied him a job as a loader at its Waynesboro facility in May 2008.

Under a settlement, the company also agreed to implement anti-discrimination policies and training and post notices at its work sites on planned compliance.

Lawrence Transportation President Ron Spangler said that the case is an example of heavy-handed government enforcement and that the company’s expenses for the case likely exceeded $400,000.

EEOC’s release announcing the settlement included a statement from Woodson that the decision is “validation that the American dream still exists and that one’s faith does not have to hold a person back from working in a job that he is qualified to perform.”

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