Man says he was dropped from trucking school over hairstyle

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Texas man who went to Iowa for trucking school said he was dropped because of his dreadlocks.

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Damon Mitchell enrolled in a commercial driver’s license program through TMC Transportation but on the second day of orientation he was told to leave, KCCI reported.

“I didn’t fail out of school, I didn’t do anything wrong. I was high spirits, I had high hopes and I went there ready to give this company everything that I had, with the best of my ability. And my hair did not have an influence on my job performance,” he said.

“Never would I ever would have imagined something like this. I’m tired man.”

The trucking school told KCCI that company policy requires employees to wear hard hats that are securely fastened.

Mitchell said he was dropped before even trying on the safety equipment to see if it would fit.

“So how do you know that a hard hat won’t fit on my head if I hadn’t had an opportunity to make it through the training,” he said.

In Iowa, there is no law against discrimination because of hairstyle. The Crown Act, which would have protected employees against this, failed to gain support in the Legislature.

“We want Iowa to be a welcoming state, we don’t want to discourage people coming to Iowa and getting good employment,” State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines told KCCI. “So passing the Crown Act will certainly be one way of saying we accept who you are.”

Mitchell said he plans to sue the company.

“I’m going to take it a step further. I’ve actually called the race and discrimination lawyers here in Texas,” he said.

“And this is something that keeps happening and it’s always the Black guy with the dreadlocks. And that is baffling to me.”

Since chronicling his experience on social media, he has been given myriad job offers, which he plans to pursue. One day he would like to have his own business.

“For me, I think that I will definitely be OK. I know I’m going to be OK,” he told KCCI. “Somebody will take a shot on me and let me bring value to their company. And I hope to start my own one day because that’s the ultimate goal because I’m not trying to work for somebody my whole life.”