Woman says she lost job after shaving head for sister


A Spokane, Washington-area woman says she was forced to quit her job as a hair salon supervisor after her boss told her to cover her shaved head while at work.

Melanie Strandberg has worked as a hair stylist for more than eight years, most recently at the La Rive Salon and Spa inside the Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights.

She says recently she decided to shave her head in support of her sister, Marisa Lowe, who’s about to start her second round of chemotherapy. Strandberg says this isn’t the first time she’s done something like this for her sister. She says her sister originally learned last year that she had stage three  ovarian cancer and during her first round of chemotherapy lost all her hair.

Strandberg says last week she was forced to write a resignation letter to her manager at La Rive.

She says after showing up to work with her head shaved, she was told by management that she had to wear a wig because being bald may make guests uncomfortable. That’s when Strandberg says she chose to leave her job.

She says she doesn’t feel she should hide the fact that she’s supporting her sister and others who are going through cancer treatment.

The General Manager of Northern Quest Resort and Casino has issued a statement. Phil Haugen says his company is taking Strandberg’s allegations very seriously and that they are inconsistent with the company’s values and culture. Haugen says the company is conducting an internal investigation. He says the company prides itself on celebrating diversity and have always honored an employee’s choice to shave his or her head in support of a friend or loved one who is battling cancer.