Anchor’s video sparks national conversation about natural hair in the workplace

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The debate on hairstyles in the work place is trending right now across the country.

Earlier this week, I made a video that was posted to my station’s Facebook page and it went viral.

The situation, addressed a conversation among peers that one of our college interns faced, not at WNCT. And she asked my professional advice.

“Too big and I needed to straighten it,” she explained. “Straighten it out. It would be distracting.”

“Distracting, well that is a very interesting word. But in the world of TV we see it all. It just depends in what market, what audience you’re looking for right now. And really, your bosses and what they allow you to do. My advice is straighten for the sake of the school project. Depending on what market you get in, when you’re older, that is something that you have to deal with. But in the workplace, just for this one, my suggestion was to just straighten it out just to please everybody.

That was my personal advice to her based on my knowledge and experiences in the broadcasting industry. And my advice is one that I stand by.

It was never a statement of what hair styles are or not allowed/or accepted in the workplace.

While everyone may or may not agree with my advice, 9 On Your Side took the question to social media.

Since Monday, the video received more than 860,000 views and more than 3,000 commented on the post.

It’s also become the topic of a national talk show and trending on national websites like theroot.com, where the author broke down some responses.

One commenter said, “Guide them to find their own voice while still fulfilling their responsibilities in the workplace, not follow your footsteps as if you have paved the ideal path. You sound like a mindless drone.”

Another said, “Forget about it being the style and trend growing hair out of one’s scalp is not a trend, it’s just how it is. If people are distracted so much by hair they can’t watch the news, the problem is not your intern. The problem is people.”

While others supported, “You used this platform to shed light on a situation that needs to be discussed.”

Others say straightening your hair should not affect your principles if it’s for your passion.

And on Madame Noire magazine’s site, the author said, “Sadly, Green’s advice is the cold, hard truth of what it is like to work in television news, where the image of the person reporting the news counts just as much as the news itself.”

While we all choose to agree or disagree on what’s acceptable in the work place and what your personal beliefs are, it is an issue that is prevalent in the workplace, especially when it comes to diversity and discrimination.

“The employment handbook is not a contract but at the same time, that cuts both way,” explained a local attorney. “It’s not a contract which guarantees you employment, but those are the guidelines if they choose to take action under that, they can. It’s not like the right of free speech. The state can’t impede your right, of association and speech and expression, but a private employer can regulate within their own company how they want things to be, as long as they don’t discriminate.”

So what happens next?

It’s up to you as a viewer with a voice to make sure your thoughts and opinions are heard.

Keep the conversation going, we want to continue to hear from you. Log on to our Facebook page and share your thoughts.

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