Oliver v. The Barbershop
Lambda Legal has brought this lawsuit to enforce California’s paramount interest in nondiscrimination and to make clear that freedom of religion does not include the right to cause harm to others.
Kendall Oliver wanted to get a haircut at The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga, California, but when they showed up for their appointment, Kendall was perceived as female and was informed that The Barbershop does not cut women’s hair. Although Kendall was assigned female at birth, Kendall identifies more as male than female and maintains short hair. The owner of The Barbershop refused to serve customers who are female or perceived as female because of his religious beliefs that those individuals should keep their hair long. Having long hair, however, is inconsistent with Kendall’s gender identity. California law prohibits all business establishments from discriminating on the basis of sex, as well as other characteristics such as race and religion, and it does not permit a business to impose its gender stereotypes on customers. Lambda Legal brought this lawsuit to enforce California’s paramount interest in nondiscrimination and to make clear that freedom of religion does not include the right to cause harm to others.
May 2016: Lambda Legal files complaint in California Superior Court.
January 2017 Lambda Legal reaches settlement in which The Barbershop admitted that it violated California’s nondiscrimination law and agreed to a court injunction prohibiting further discrimination.