Cree Ballah showed up for work at a Zara location in Toronto with her hair in braids, then pulled back into a ponytail. Managers took a look and decided they needed to step in.

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That’s right, it took not one, but two managers to deal with one 20-year-old’s hair. Ballah says she was told to take her hair down, then was led out of the store, where a manager said, “We’re not trying to offend you, but we’re going for a clean professional look with Zara and the hairstyle you have now is not the look for Zara.” Hey, Zara? This whole story is not a clean professional look for you. CBC News reports that Ballah was humiliated, and left the store. She ended up filing a complaint with HR, and though she hasn’t quit yet, she’s considering it:

“My hair type is also linked to my race, so to me, I felt like it was direct discrimination against my ethnicity in the sense of what comes along with it,” said Ballah, who describes herself as bi-racial.

“My hair type is out of my control and I try to control it to the best of my ability, which wasn’t up to standard for Zara.”

Ballah did meet with company officials, but was not satisfied with how the issue was handled.

In a written statement, Zara said it “engaged directly the employee on this matter and respect the privacy of those discussions.”

They added that there is no official hairstyle. If I were a manager trying to clean up around Zara, I’d ignore everyone’s hair and just run through the store trimming this fringe thing:

Image via CBC News.


Contact the author at aimee.lutkin@jezebel.com.