A black woman’s co-workers created a petition against her hair, calling her Black hair unprofessional. The black woman sued, and the judge ruled against her.
Kimberly Tigner, who was humiliated when her white co-workers created a petition against her black hair, calling it unprofessional, had a North Carolina judge rule against her.
The judge ruled that Tigner’s co-workers’ actions and the petition were objectionable, but did not constitute discrimination.
Tigner worked in the Career and Technical Education Department at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a career development liaison. She sued the district for retaliation and discrimination after she said she experienced “racially motivated criticism and bullying” which started in 2015.
The complaint stated:
“The school district intentionally deprived Ms. Tigner, an African American woman, of the same Constitutional rights enjoyed by white citizens as to the creation, performance, enjoyment, and all benefits and privileges of her contractual relationship with (CMS),”
Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. admitted that the petition was “inappropriate and offensive” but said the behavior wasn’t actionable under the law, saying it:
“did not satisfy the demanding severe or pervasive standard required to state a claim for hostile work environment.”
The judge agreed to dismiss the lawsuit stating:
“The courts have rejected claims of racial harassment based on conduct far more egregious than what Plaintiff has alleged in this case.”
The complaint stated that Tigner’s supervisor who allegedly circulated the petition claimed she had “black friends, so it was okay for her to do/say what she did.”
That same supervisor banned Tigner’s son who dropped by the office in 2016 to visit his mother. The supervisor reportedly felt threatened by Tigner’s 17-year-old son and used the district’s internal directory to check if he had a criminal record. The 17-year-old was banned for 2 weeks from CMS property while they checked if he had a felony, the complaint stated. Tigner spent two weeks trying to prove her son wasn’t a felon.
Tigner says she was reprimanded for complaining and tried to find another job elsewhere, but was passed over for all five positions.
After dismissing her discrimination case the judge allowed her retaliation suit to move forward.