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Dawn Butler brands agency “disgraceful" over dreadlocks ban

DISGRACEFUL: MP Dawn Butler said the temping agency was given its clients, which include Wembley Stadium, a bad name

DAWN BUTLER has called a temp agency “disgraceful” after it refused to find work for a student because of her dreadlocks.

The Labour MP is one of a number of politicians speaking out against the temp’s decision to deny the young woman access to work through its organisation.

Butler, the shadow women’s and equalities secretary, said: “I know that Wembley Stadium, which is based in my constituency, would never discriminate against someone because of their hair. Therefore an agency that recruits on behalf of Wembley Stadium to have this policy gives Wembley, by association, a bad name.

“There is no universal definition of neat and tidy hair. An acceptable policy is hair should be away from your face or tied back.”

Cheyanne Arnold had approached TempTribe in the hope of gaining employment but was told that her application would not progress further because her dreadlocks contravened the agency’s uniform standards.

A guide to “immaculate presentation” on the company’s website includes a diagram detailing acceptable and unacceptable forms of appearance.

In one of the animated images, a man is depicted with dreadlocks. The text underneath states: “Hair must be short and neat: no ponytails, no braids, no dreadlocks.”

DISCRIMINATION: The TempTribe's "ultimate guide to immaculate presentation" as featured on its website

The organisation, which describes itself as “London’s favourite hospitality staff supplier” recruits employees for companies including Fortnum & Mason, The Victoria Secret fashion show, Wembley Stadium and The Body Shop.

The 22-year-old, an undergraduate at Birmingham City University, said: “At the time, I was really upset.

“I had never gone through that before. I was just thinking: ‘How would someone else feel if say they had a headscarf, how would they feel if you told them no?’”

Shabana Mahmood, the Birmingham Ladywood MP, said: “The very idea that a company like TempTribe think it’s okay to impose such arbitrary and offensive restrictions on who they hire is a problem in itself,” she said. “It’s doubly disgraceful as their ridiculous rules clearly discriminate against certain people and communities.”

Birmingham Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, also added his voice to the criticism of TempTribe. He said: “Why should she have to change her appearance in order to get a job?

“There is absolutely no excuse for this behaviour at all. Cheyanne is a smart-looking young woman - why would anyone object to the way she looks?”

The Huffington Post reported that the initial guide on the TempTribe website did not detail the caveat that exceptions could be made on religious grounds. It is believed that the image was amended after the publication contacted the agency for comment.

The agency later informed Arnold that they had a “small pool” of clients “happy to be more inclusive” and offered to meet with her. But Arnold declined on the basis that she would “rather be broke for a couple of months than work for a company that discriminates against certain hair or the way you look”.

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