Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cosmetologist Sues After Company Insists That In Training Class He Wear Women's Cosmetics

The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday on an unusual Title VII religious accommodation lawsuit filed Monday in a Michigan federal district court.  Barry Jones is an ordained elder in the Church of God in Christ where he has been preaching for 19 years. He is also trained in cosmetology and licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing as an esthetician. In 2014 he took a position with an M.A.C. Cosmetics store in a now-closed Detroit area mall and began its training to become a full-time makeup artist.  As part of the training the company insisted that students apply makeup to each other, including blush, eye-shadow, lipstick and false eyelashes, so that they would know how those products feel when they apply them to customers.  Jones refused on religious grounds, quoting Deuteronomy 22:5 that prohibits a man from wearing women's clothing. He said that doing anything that makes him look like a woman would undermine his integrity as a preacher.  The company demoted Jones to be a freelance makeup artist, and he could not find work.  After obtaining a right to sue letter from the EEOC, Jones filed suit.