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Black Hebrew Israelite Says He Was Fired for Having Long Dreads

Black Hebrew Israelite Says He Was Fired for Having Long Dreads

Black Hebrew Israelite Says He Was Fired for Having Long Dreads

Donzell Lenard, a former worker at St. Louis, Missouri-based Energy Petroleum, alleged that he was fired after he refused to cut his dreadlocks.

According to KMOV4, Lenard was making decent pay as an employee of the independent fuel and lubricant distributor. He worked there for about a month when he was approached by a hiring manager about his hanging dreads.

 “He said if I couldn’t cut my hair, I can’t work,” Lenard told the news outlet. He said that issue with his hair was never brought to his attention.

“Why wasn’t it brought to me then? Then, all of a sudden you say it was overlooked. How could you overlook that? How do you overlook that I have long hair?” he asked.

Lenard said he would not cut his hair because it is a part of his faith. As a Hebrew Israelite, he believes he is a descendant of a los tribe of Israel. Traditionally, they do not cut their hair or beards as a symbol of strength.

He acknowledged receiving documents during his first day at the company that outline the hair guidelines. But he was not directly told about grooming until weeks into the job.

Lenard showed KMOV4 documents from his company about the rules. He said he received those on the first day of his job but he received a document that governed grooming a few weeks ago.

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“Their rule should have been out there. It should not have been overlooked. You told me about every other rule,” Lenard said.

He said he would like his job back.

Energy Petroleum has not made a statement about Lenard’s discrimination claims. Attorney Brian Pezza said, “It’s not a winning case for an employer to decide they are going to challenge an employee’s religious beliefs.”

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