Stylist Zandra Bennett Sues Salon for Racial Discrimination

Black stylist sues Orlo salon for racial discrimination

AN OWNER of one of the most expensive hair salons in the city routinely  belittled an African-American hair stylist with racial comments and blasted her  for bringing in black and Hispanic clients instead of white ones, a lawsuit  charges.

“Black hair doesn’t pay the bills in here,” George  Casson, a part owner, is accused of telling stylist Zandra Bennett.

Bennett is suing Orlo, a Meatpacking District salon that charges $800 for a  haircut and has celebrity clients like Jennifer  Connelly, Kirsten  Dunst and Naomi  Campbell.

According to court papers, Bennett started as an assistant in April 2010.  She was promoted to stylist five months later.

Stylist Orlando Pita, part-owner of his namesake Orlo salon, works on Naomi  Campbell’s look. Despite the supermodel’s appearances at the salon, an  ex-stylist says in a discrimination suit that she was told by Pita’s partner  that “black hair doesn’t pay the bills in here.”

Until she was fired in January 2011, Bennett says in the suit, she was  barraged with racial comments from Casson and a receptionist, Alfred Malavo.

She said Casson, who did not respond to calls, steered black clients to her,  telling her she “doesn’t know how to do white hair” and calling Bennett’s hair “nappy.”

Bennett also said Malavo called her names like “blackie” and “n—–ette” and “slave.”

When she was hospitalized for job-related stress in January 2011, Casson  fired her by text message.

Bennett is charging that Casson, his partner and the salon’s namesake Orlando Pita and  Malavo, created a hostile and discriminatory work environment.

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