Waitress Shaved Head for Charity, Got Laid Off

Stacey Fearnall, whose father died of cancer, decided to shave her head for a cancer fundraising event. But when she returned to work at Nathaniels restaurant, where she worked as a waiter, she was laid off:

The mother of two, who was told by her boss to go home after she refused to wear a wig, was in tears when she returned home Tuesday just a half hour into her shift.

"When she went in she felt like there was something wrong with her,'' her husband said. "Nobody would really look at her, make eye contact. They didn't really say anything and it made her feel kind of less than human.''

It was a slow night so she came home early, but when she called to say she'd be in the next day, she was told not to bother, he added.

Nathaniels owner and chef Dan Hilliard defended his decision, saying the restaurant has certain standards. He prohibits male staff from wearing earrings and requires employees keep their hair at a reasonable length.


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I'm with the owner - regardless of the reason - he has to protect his business and the appearance of an employee would impact on that.

She could go baldy outside work but should wear a wig at work - or just not cut her hair off at all and use a rubber cover.

The appearance of an employee or manager is very important in business.
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Why would people give more money to a charity only if a beautiful woman shaves her head? Strange. I don't think this woman should have been canned, but I'd be very upset if my wife chose to buzz her long hair for any reason but medical necessity. Seeing flowing manes on women would be a huge morale BOOST for me if I had cancer. A shaved head on someone I love would just make me sad, even if it was a misguided attempt to support ME.
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If you're going to do something THAT drastic, consult your employer first. I've worked at two places where people have disobeyed dress code for "legitimate" reasons (one got a tattoo when her mother died, the other refused to take off her grandmother's wedding band, putting her over the 1 ring per hand limit), but they were both fired. The employers were sorry, but if you have a dress code you have to stick to it.
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It sounds like the owners waffled and did not make clear to Ms. Fearnall exactly what the consequences would be. Their mistake. Now, public opinion has come slamming down on them and they're hurting for it. They made a decision. Apparently, legally, they had a right to make it, but it seems to be a poor one, and they're paying the price.

BTW, my mother-in-law has been through three bouts of cancer. Before chemo, she bought two wigs and some turbans. She never wore the wigs. When you don't have hair, wigs are very uncomfortable and difficult to wear. She wore turbans until her hair came in about an inch, then just let it show.
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