DEAR HARRIETTE: I started my event planning business from the ground up. I never discriminate against clients, employees or anyone who shows interest in working with me. The other day I received an online complaint from a client about the hairstyle of one of my employees. She wanted to be sure that my employee would hide her brightly colored hair for her event. She wrote, “The event is a black-tie formal, and the loud colors in her hair will clash with the theme.” What should I do? I do not want to tell my employee that her hair color is an issue. -- Client Complaints
DEAR CLIENT COMPLAINTS: This is a tricky one, especially because in the service industry, “the customer is always right.” You can check the laws in your state to be 100% clear about whether you have the legal right to allow (or disallow) your employee to wear her brightly colored hair to the event in question.
But I would consider a different approach. I do not think it will be discrimination for you to speak to your employee and tell her of the complaint about her hair color. Just like some events require employees to wear a uniform, perhaps your employee can wear a head covering that does not damage her hair but does subdue or cover it for the event.