Censorship: Silencing the Hairdresser
There are two confirmed salons at this time that have new policies in place regarding conversations in the salon AND content posted on social media platforms from the employees. Specifically that conversations or posts political in nature will result in immediate suspension.
Apparently clients that are concerned for the health and safety of their family and communities and voice these concerns in a salon environment are hurting some special little snowflake's feelings. While one client might genuinely need their salon experience to be a safe zone where they can express their fears and feel relief that they are not alone in a world that is seeing a rise of xenophobic fascism, apparently the need of the client who doesn't want to hear that conversation takes precedence.
If you are an independent contractor, good for you! You are under no restrictions to limit conversations. Unfortunately, the First Amendment does not extend to private business policies. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, while stating that everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference, again does not necessarily cross the border of privately-owned businesses or the people it employs. The Wages and Fair Labor Standards Act protects hours worked. The National Labor Relations Act protects workers and collective bargaining, not speech. Basically, if your employers wants to get rid of you because of your political beliefs, they can.
Inside the mind of a fiscally conservative socially liberal hairdresser, hearing censorship stories in a salon opens a rabbit hole that is hard to escape from. It's like dark Wonderland in here.
Management of a company states that it is good customer service to not discuss politics or religion. True. In the wake of the first two weeks of the new regime, multiple executive orders have been issued that have caused a breach of constitutional jurisdiction. Every day more news stories are released that (while designed to enflame and enrage because hey-mo' views mo' money) strike a true note of fear into the lives of citizens, residents, and refugees. So now not only can we not discuss current events (sorry guys, current events are politics) but vague requests to not participate or turn the conversation away from politics is policy. Okay. We are professionals we should only talk hair. But just talking hair isn't everyone's brand, some of us are highly informed intellectual stylists who engage and connect with their guests so now we can't be that. A client who is needs to share their fears and hear they are not alone, we are not allowed to connect with them in that way anymore. Am I being asked to be a good customer service provider or is this the first step into fascism because I am asked to be silent? If I don't follow orders will they take away my bonus will they suspend me like they promised? Or was it a threat? If I lose my job will I lose my house? Is being silenced worth losing my house? This is how it begins, not with Auschwitz but with normal people being scared of losing their income and homes. That's a crazy thought but maybe I have hit that part in gaslighting where it worked and now I think I'm crazy but I know I'm not crazy because this. Is. HAPPENING. But it is good customer service and we shouldn't talk politics sex money religion. But this is current events this is happening. But I could lose my job. But this is happening. I can't seem to disconnect the two because I don't know if they are disconnected.
This is the maelstrom inside some of our heads.
In California, it is illegal for employers to require limitations on an employee's personal social media account. Other states do not have such protections. Some salons are forbidding employees to post politically driven content with discipline up to and including termination. Under the proposed 'Religious Freedom' order private companies would be allowed to cite religious beliefs when refusing to service clients. Would salons become a place where an Orthodox owner terminates employees that exhibit lifestyles that do not align with their doctrine? Or service clients? Don't post about politics now is the order, is the next one if you post LBGTQ issues you're gone? What is your line in the sand?
This is what it's like in the rabbit hole when it opens up. It opens up when employers and employees don't come together to discuss and train and listen and learn with each other.
Have you been impacted by recent events? Does your salon have a policy regarding conversation and social media content. We want, nay we need to hear your voice.