Ritz London ‘Afro-style’ hair ban criticized by job applicants

Jerelle Jules dropped out of the recruitment process for The Ritz London over its policy on ‘Afro-style’  hair.  (ITV)

Jerelle Jules dropped out of the recruitment process for The Ritz London over its policy on ‘Afro-style’ hair. (ITV)

A Black man has hit out at the “discriminatory” policy of banning ‘Afro-style’ hair for workers at The Ritz London hotel.

Jerelle Jules, 30, said he pulled out of the application process for the dining reservation supervisor position after he found about the hotel’s rule on “unusual” hairstyles, which included Afro and “spiky”, in the policy document he was sent ahead of his final interview.

The Ritz said it “does not condone discrimination of any kind” but Jules, from Hammersmith, west London, said the policy was “discriminating” against him and he felt he would not be able to take a job at the establishment.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “When I saw the language I felt like it was discriminating against me and I couldn’t move forward with the job application…

Sign for The Ritz, famous for its afternoon teas, and exclusive hotel rooms on 13th April 2022 in London, United Kingdom.  The Ritz London is a Grade II listed 5-star hotel located in Piccadilly, and is a symbol of high society and luxury.  It is one of the world's most prestigious and best known hotels.  (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

The Ritz London said it ‘does not condone discrimination of any kind’. (Getty)

“My issue is the language that was used. The language could have been non-discriminatory – they could have said the length of hair and I’d have been quite OK with that.”

Jules said that the language used in The Ritz’s policy, which was dated to 2021, “was out of the 1970s”, and that seeing it was “quite surprising and quite disconcerting”.

He also revealed that he was told a Black hair stylist from the Ritz had approved the phrasing in the policy.

Jules added: “My biggest worry is this is a place where I wouldn’t feel welcome.”

Jerelle Jules said the language in the policy was ‘out of the 1970s’.  (ITV)

Jerelle Jules said the language in the policy was ‘out of the 1970s’. (ITV)

A spokesman for the five-star Ritz Hotel apologised to Jules, saying that the policy was “out of date” and sent to him in “error”.

He added: “We are genuinely committed to fostering an inclusive and non-discriminatory environment for all of our colleagues and guests.”

But Jules has been invited and said The Ritz should be “open to all candidates”.

He said that The Ritz “needs to make steps to become inclusive and to reach out to the community and to make it accessible”.

Andy Slaughter

Labor MP Andy Slaughter said the policy from The Ritz was ‘racist’. (PA)

Labor MP Andy Slaughter, whom Jules contacted about the policy, described it as “blatant discrimination” and “racist”.

He added to the BBC: “The response by The Ritz on being challenged is wholly inadequate.

“They have not explained how this racist and demeaning policy came about or what they now intend to do to address its legacy.”

Yahoo News UK has contacted the Race Equality Foundation for a comment.