Exclusive: Quilter promises not to discriminate against afro hair

Adopts the Halo Code ahead of Black History Month

Quilter has committed to ensuring people with afro-hair or any other hair textures are not discriminated against in the workplace or in its recruitment processes.

Ahead of Black History Month, the wealth manager and investment platform has adopted the Halo Code, a campaign pledge, signed by businesses and schools, that promises members of the Black community that they have the freedom and security to wear all afro-hairstyles without restriction or judgment.

The Halo Code was founded by young Black organisers from The Advocacy Academy. “Race-based hair discrimination has been illegal in the UK since the Equalities Act became law in 2010, and yet it still happens all the time,” the website stated.

It found one in five Black women feel societal pressure to straighten their hair for work. “For too long, Black people have been told that our hair textures and hairstyles are inappropriate, unattractive, and unprofessional. We’ve been suspended from school, held back in our careers, and made to feel inferior by racist policies and attitudes,” it said.

Tosin James-Odukoya, head of inclusion and wellbeing at Quilter, said: “The Halo Code is arguably best known for helping put a stop to hair discrimination in schools, but studies have shown it is equally relevant to the workplace where people tend to bias towards western ideals of ‘neat’ or professional looking hair.”

The Halo Code for workplaces commits signatories to displaying the code on their website, announcing the adoption to staff, displaying their name on the Halo Collective website, embedding the code into workplace dress policies or staff handbooks, signposting to resources, and using the code to help settle disputes.

“Signing the code commits us to proactively taking a stand to ensure that nobody at Quilter faces barriers or judgments because of the natural texture of their hair,” James-Odukoya continued.

“It’s also a further step to ensure all our colleagues feel they can bring their ‘whole selves’ into work and feel included. We encourage other businesses across the industry to adopt the Halo Code and support their colleagues in feeling confident and free of judgement in the workplace.”

Letetia King (pictured), internal audit specialist at Quilter, said: “My choice of hairstyle has no bearing on my ability to do my work and it is great to work in an environment where I can bring my authentic self to work. I am so pleased that Quilter has gone one step further by adopting the Halo Code.”

Quilter will also be marking Black History Month by encouraging employees to shop with locally run Black-owned business in support of Black Pound Day.

The Halo Code

Our workplace champions the right of staff to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our Black employees’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, and requires specific styling for hair health and maintenance.

We celebrate Afro-textured hair worn in all styles including, but not limited to, afros, locs, twists, braids, cornrows, fades, hair straightened through the application of heat or chemicals, weaves, wigs, headscarves, and wraps.

In this workplace, we recognise and celebrate our colleagues’ identities. We are a community built on an ethos of equality and respect where hair texture and style have no bearing on an employees’ ability to succeed.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...