A Black man from St. Louis is claiming that he was fired from his place of employment after refusing to cut off his dreads.
Donzell Lenard, a former employee of Energy Petroleum, had been employed for just over a month and claimed that he enjoyed working for the company.
"I fueled trains, trucks, cranes, tractors or whatever needs gas," said Lenard.
His manager then told him that his hair as too long and ordered him to cut his hair.
“He said if I couldn’t cut my hair, I can’t work,” Lenard told News 4.
Lenard, Hebrew Israelite, claimed that his hairstyle was aligned with his faith. They believe that they are descendants of a lost tribe of Israel and do not believe in cutting their hair or their beards.
He even alleges that he had worn his hair down at work, but nobody mentioned the short hair rule to him then.
“Why wasn’t it brought to me then? Then, all of a sudden you say it was overlooked. How could you overlook that? How do you overlook that I have long hair?” Lenard asked.
He then showed News 4 documents from his company outlining their policies but did not receive a document which governed grooming until later.
“Their rule should have been out there. It should not have been overlooked. You told me about every other rule,” Lenard said.
Attorney Brian Pezza with Lewis Rice LLC said federal law requires an employer has to make an effort to see if they can accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs.
“It is not a winning case for an employer to decide they are going to challenge an employee’s actual religious beliefs,” said Pezza.
“You don’t want to get into how often they go to church, whether they were just converted or how to they got to the belief.”
The company is yet to issue a statement on the matter.