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‘What’s wrong with your hair?’ Hyundai sued for firing a woman over dreadlocks

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Hyundai Motor Company, facing a series of class-action and administrative lawsuits over defective vehicles and a spike in thefts, has been sued again.

With a new administrative lawsuit filed, another lawsuit related to discrimination against black employees just surfaced.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama ruled in favor of Davita Key, a black woman who filed a discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit against Hyundai Motor America and Dynamic Security.

The incident occurred in July of 2017. According to the complaint, the plaintiff, Key, was hired by Dynamic Security to work at the Hyundai plant in Alabama as a clerk in the mail room.

According to the Atlanta Black Star on April 25, the plaintiff had informed her employer that she was pregnant and was forced to quit her job two days later after being told, ‘What’s wrong with your hair?’ She even offered to wear a hat or change her hairstyle, but was fired for violating the plant’s dress code.

At the time, Key was reportedly wearing her hair in locs, a style that allows her hair to hang down in braids.

Key told the Atlanta Black Star, “This is my hair. It’s my race. That’s who I am as an African American woman.” She added, “I [filed the lawsuit] after speaking to them and feeling like my voice was just not heard and I wasn’t taken seriously.”

The jury ultimately sided with key. The court ordered Dynamic Security to compensate Key with $810,000 for damages, including punitive damages. While Hyundai was exempted from paying, the verdict in favor of the plaintiff infers that the court finds Hyundai partially guilty for the wrongful termination claim.

Hyundai was also sued for racial discrimination last year. A former executive, a black woman, filed a lawsuit against Hyundai’s Alabama plant, claiming she was wrongfully terminated due to racial discrimination.

In addition, the city government of Rochester announced on April 24 that they are filing a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia. This is the ninth administrative lawsuit filed by a governmental entity, joining San Diego, Seattle, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

“Kia and Hyundai vehicles make up nearly 75% of 1,063 cars stolen across the city this year,” Rochester Police Chief David Smith said, referring to the issue of anti-theft technology.

“This problem is out of control. The costs to taxpayers of the City of Rochester are skyrocketing – in law enforcement, property damage, waived impound fees, and public safety – because of the decision by Kia and Hyundai to not install readily available anti-theft technology,” said Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.

“A stolen Hyundai was the getaway car after a shooting outside of Franklin High School earlier this year, and a stolen Kia driving erratically across the school courtyard last week also put students at risk,” reported a local media outlet Democrats & Chronicle.

Meanwhile, a compilation of Hyundai-related lawsuits based on a database of class-action lawsuits recently filed with courts shows that there are nearly 30 class-action and administrative lawsuits against them across the country.

BY YEOL JANG [support@koreadaily.com]