Dreadlocks Discrimination Suit Settled

January 18, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Rochester man who practices the Rastafarian religion has won a $33,500 settlement from Greyhound Lines after complaining he couldn't get a bus driver's job because he wore long dreadlocks.

Greyhound’s payment to Kevan Sheppard ends an employment discrimination lawsuit filed for him in 2000 by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Buffalo, according to a Buffalo News report.

Sheppard claimed Greyhound’s Buffalo management turned him down for the bus driver’s job because his hair hung halfway down his back in the braided style known as dreadlocks.

Sheppard said he applied in late 1998 and drove to Buffalo several times in early 1999 for meetings with supervisors, an orientation session, an aptitude test, a physical exam and a drug test.

But then a supervisor asked Sheppard if cutting his hair would be objectionable for him. Sheppard answered that it would because the locks are in keeping with his religion.

In February 1999, Greyhound told him that his long hair “might be a problem.” If he wanted a job, he should “probably” cut it, the Buffalo News report said. Sheppard refused.

Rachel Adams, an EEOC lawyer, said the agency’s investigation showed other applicants with less experience and lesser credentials were hired ahead of Sheppard, and concluded he was rejected because of his religion – a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

As part of the settlement, Greyhound will be required to train its hiring officials about laws prohibiting employment discrimination and distribute anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures to all employees.