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Des Moines businesses awarded $75K in human rights discrimination settlement

"Discrimination is not tolerated in Des Moines," Des Moines Chief Equity Officer Manisha Paudel said in a statement.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Four businesses in Des Moines now have more money in their bank accounts, courtesy of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission

That money comes from a settlement the city reached with an unnamed retail store accused of discriminatory practices against people with natural or textured hair. 

Dr. Negus Imhotep and Veronica Ouya, commissioners in the group, said the settlement was for $90,000, but $75,000 was split between the four businesses.

The commissioners said when their organization investigated, they found discriminatory business practices at the store, where hair products marketed to customers with textured or natural hair were removed from haircare aisles.  

The products were then placed in another part of the store.

The commission said they deemed the store's reasoning for the separate placement was based on discrimination.

"This nation has a history of being extremely racist," Imhotep said.

Imhotep and Ouya said the reason behind giving some money from the settlement to the four businesses is because those places serve the type of customers the retail store discriminated against.

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Ouya hopes this settlement teaches a lesson to other businesses.

"What could [they] be doing that even without us thinking it is discriminatory could be ... and if there is any business in Iowa that has a product that is marketed to people of color that it is not put in less accessible places," Ouya said.

Part of the settlement will also go towards outreach and education programs. 

Adeya Crockett, the owner of one of the businesses that received the money, was shocked she got it. But said it will be helpful.

"We're going to end up doing a remodel, but also we want to start a group for young girls who are looking to get into the hair industry," Crockett said.

Even though the retail store settled with the commission, it is important to note they disagreed with the commission finding them at fault.

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