WILMINGTON, N.C. (Legal Newsline) — Minnesota-based Regis Corporation, which does business as Smart Style Family Hair Salon, will pay $90,000 after allegations of retaliation discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced.

Two employees at one of the company’s salons, Hope Hunt and Annie Mae Locklear, were allegedly fired for opposing what they reasonably believed was an unlawful employment practice. They alleged a soon-to-be salon manager told them that she did not want African-Americans working in the salon. Hunt and Locklear then told an African-American candidate for an open position at the salon they believed the manager would not hire her due to her race. The company then purportedly fired the two employees, stating they had lied.

Alleged conduct of this nature by the defendants violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee for complaining about discrimination.

"Punishing employees who oppose discriminatory employment practices violates federal law and only makes a bad situation worse," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "We are pleased that Regis Corporation has agreed to provide training to its supervisors and managers as part of its efforts to ensure that such retaliation does not occur in its workplace in the future."

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