Woman Fired for Having 'Wrong' Hair Color?

Sandra Rawline's had gray hair since she was in her 20s, because of genes 'n' things. For years, her employer didn't seem to mind. But when her company decided to move to fancier digs, Rawline's boss told her to dye her hair to look more "upscale."

See, gray hair's a slovenly bumpkin thing. With a different hair color, plus some "younger fancy suits" and "lots of fancy jewelry," Rawline, 52, could have better reflected the Classy New Image being striven for by her employer, Capital Title of Texas—some real estate escrow services company whose Houston office, where Rawline worked as a branch manager, is overly air-conditioned and smells like potpourri pies (or so we imagine). Rawline's boss even offered to wash that gray right out of Rawline's hair for her, if she didn't feel like doing it herself—which Rawline didn't, because she was actually happy with her appearance.

After Rawline refused her boss's free salon services, her job was quickly terminated, she alleges in an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed in federal court last week. Though Capital Title CEO Bill Shaddock calls her claims "'completely baseless and preposterous' on their face," and vows that the company would hire even 150-year old people "if they were worthy" (or actually existed), Rawline says she'd never received any complaints about her performance, and that a younger woman replaced her after her dismissal. Highly suspect, that!

This should be a lively trial, especially if Rawline's attorney—one Robert "Bigs" Dowdy—is as much of a character as his nickname suggests. Though if I were the judge presiding over this trial, I'd make him change his surname to something more "upscale," like "Fabulous." Robert "Bigs" Snazzy also works.

[Houston Chronicle, Image via Houston Chronicle]