AG: Boston business to pay $12K, train staff after African-American worker fired over hair color

BOSTON (WHDH) - A national check cashing company based in Boston will have its anti-discrimination policies reviewed, train its staff and pay nearly $12,000 to resolve allegations that a manager discriminated against a former employee because of his race and hair color, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday.

The settlement agreement between PLS Financial Services of Mattapan and Healey’s office resolves a complaint that was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in 2016.

A manager at the business allegedly violated civil rights laws by refusing to allow an African-American employee to work his scheduled shift, refusing to allow him to return to his job, and terminating him because he did not conform to a discriminatory personal grooming standard, according to the complaint.

The complaint said that a recently hired African-American employee at the store dyed his hair from black to blonde after his manager had previously stated during his interview process that PLS would allow him to dye his hair so long as he chose a “natural” color.

Upon arriving at work after dying his hair, the victim was allegedly told by his manager that he could not work his scheduled shift with blonde hair because the dye was not in her opinion a natural color for someone who is African-American, the complaint stated.

The employee ultimately was not allowed to return to work following several unsuccessful attempts to contact his manager. He later learned from human resources that he had been terminated.

As part of the settlement, PLS will pay $11,750 to settle the allegations, $10,000 of which will go to the victim. PLS will also pay for all Massachusetts store managers to attend a comprehensive anti-discrimination training.

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