A JetBlue flight attendant says a boss wouldn’t let her work a flight and denied her pay because of her big hairdo.
Charleen Momperousse, an African-American Haitian woman, was grounded without pay before a December 2015 flight after a supervisor allegedly took issue with her hair, calling it an “extreme mohawk.”
Momperousse, 37, says the coif was nothing but an expression of who she is. She still sports the same look, but told the Daily News she now she hides it with weaves and wigs on the job — so as “not to draw attention to myself.”
JetBlue’s policy bans cuts like a mohawk, but Momperousse argues in a newly-filed Brooklyn federal lawsuit that the policy creates unfair turbulence for African-American Haitian employees like her “merely due to the texture of their hair.”
For example, an unidentified Hispanic male co-worker with the sides of his hair shaved did not get into trouble, according the the suit. A white female crew member who “had an up-do and the sides of her hair ... gelled” also flew under the radar, Momperousse said.
At the time of the December 2015 incident, Momperousse was a flight attendant with the carrier for 11 years who had earned respect from co-workers and compliments from passengers.
She’d also been sporting her new hairstyle for about three months.
She was planning to work the next leg of a three-day trip when a supervisor asked to speak with her at the carrier’s JFK Airport premises. The supervisor told Momperousse he thought her hair was violating policy and passed along his views to a base manager.
He also marked Momperousse as unavailable to work an upcoming flight from JFK to Turks and Caicos.
Momperousse waited hours to speak with her direct supervisor about what happened. That higher-up purportedly said, “Your hair is not cut into a mohawk.”
Even still, the superior objecting to the cut told Momperousse's direct supervisor her hair was “even more extreme from the previous day and (she) should not be allowed on the flight.”
NY Daily News
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