Words by Shanice Stephanie
Banana Republic in Westchester County, New York has been accused of “blatant racism and discrimination” by female employee, Destiny Tompkins, who says she was a victim of this offensive act. 19-year-old Tompkins decided to wear box braids to work and was later on told by her district regional manager that her style was “too urban and unkempt” for the brand’s image.
Destiny is currently a student at SUNY Purchase and has been employed at the White Plains location for about a month. On Wednesday (October 4th) Tompkins was called into her manager’s office to discuss her dress code; or at least that’s what she thought, but instead was questioned about her hair. Furious and outraged, Destiny took to her Facebook, where the news quickly went viral. In her post she states “He told me that my braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too “urban and unkempt” for their image. He said that if I didn’t take them out then he couldn’t schedule me for shifts until I did.” As she tried to explain to said manager that it was a protective style for her hair he recommended that she use “Shea Butter” for it instead. WOW! Tompkins says “she was so ‘uncomfortable and overwhelmed’ that she chose not to finish her shift and went home instead.”
Banana Republic has not responded to any questions concerning their formal dress code policy, but spokesperson Sheikina Liverpool released the following statement on behalf of the company:
As a company, we have zero tolerance for discrimination. We take this matter very seriously, and we are actively conducting an investigation. We are committed to upholding an inclusive environment where our customers and our employees feel respected.
As of today (October 9th) it has been confirmed that the manager has been terminated from the company and Destiny is still currently employed at Banana Republic and is waiting to see how this situation plays out.
Unfortunately, this is not the first racial discrimination act within the work place; we can only hope that this will be the last. Kudos to Destiny for speaking up, we hope she gets the justice that she deserves.