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Distinctions in employment practices between men and women on the basis of something other than immutable or protected characteristics do not inhibit employment opportunity.
Appellant Alan Willingham sought employment with appellee Macon Telegraph Publishing Co., Macon, Georgia, and was denied due to the length of his hair. Appellee had a dress and grooming policy which limited the length of hair allowed on males, but had no similar restrictions for females. Appellant filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which determined that appellant had been subjected to discrimination. Appellant filed suit in federal court charging sex discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e-2(a). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of appellee, finding no unlawful discrimination. Appellant challenged the decision.
By being denied employment due to the length of his hair, was appellant subjected to discrimination?
The Court affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of appellee, finding that hair length was not a protected sex characteristic under the equal employment opportunity statutes. According to the Court, distinctions in employment practices between men and women on the basis of something other than immutable or protected characteristics did not inhibit employment opportunity.