JetBlue Bad Hair Day: Flight attendant sues airline over ‘extreme mohawk’

A JetBlue flight attendant claims that her employer fired her over her mohawk. She’s now seeking justice with a recently-filed federal lawsuit against the airline.

New York Daily News reports that flight attendant Charleen Momperousse was “grounded” from a flight on December 15 after her employer told her that her “extreme mohawk” was against company policy. The JetBlue employee handbook apparently bans certain types of hairstyles for flight attendants, but in the lawsuit, Momperousse claimed that is unfair for “African American and Haitan” workers since it punishes her “merely due to the texture of their hair.”

The lawsuit also claimed that her supervisor was being biased, and let a Hispanic male with the sides of his hair shaved continue to work, and that a white female with an up-do didn’t get in trouble or grounded.

“This is a case where who’s to say they can define it as a mohawk? I want to be clear this is not about color, race. None of that. This is about accepting people for who they are,” said Momperousse’s lawyer, Chauncey Henry.

Momperousse had been a flight attendant for over a decade when the incident occurred. She’d had the new hairstyle for around three months before she was reprimanded. She was gearing up for a three-day flight when she was pulled aside at the JFK airport in New York and told she wouldn’t be able to work. She waited hours to speak to a speak to a higher-up in the company, but was still denied access to the upcoming flight.

Although JetBlue wouldn’t speak specifically about Momperousse’s lawsuit, they denied any wrongdoing and said that the company has always valued diversity.

“We do not comment on the specifics of pending litigation.  We value diversity and that is reflected across our 20,000 crewmembers who comply with our appearance standards every day.”

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