Fired for having grey hair

Employee claims she was fired because she refused to dye her hair or wear ‘younger’ clothes
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/11/2011

A Texas woman is claiming she lost her job because her hair was grey and her style of dress was too old.

Sandra Rawline, 52, was a branch manager responsible for closing real estate transactions for Capital Title, a real estate firm in Galleria, Tex. She joined the firm in 2003 and, according to her, there were never any complaints about her job performance. She won Capital Title’s outstanding employee award two years in a row, in 2004 and 2005.

However, in August 2009, the firm’s office moved to a new location and her boss told her she needed a more “upscale image.” This new image would require new, “younger” suits and jewelry, as well as dyeing her grey hair.

Rawline was surprised at the demands, as her hair had been grey since she joined the firm — in fact, it had turned grey in her 20s, she told the Houston Chronicle. When she refused to accept the firm’s demands, she was fired less than a week later. Her replacement was a woman 10 years younger.

Rawline filed a lawsuit against Capital Title for discrimination. The firm denied the charges, calling them “completely baseless and preposterous.” The firm said she was let go because a customer who was her main account didn’t want to work with her any longer, which left no job for her. The customer was responsible for 35 to 40 closings a month.

“I’d hire a 150-year-old individual if they were worthy,” Bill Shaddock, Capital Title’s CEO, told the Chronicle.

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