A trip to the salon should have you leaving feeling better than ever. But that’s not what happened to Jeniffer Dreyer Brown.
Brown left Happy Nails in Laguna Niguel, California feeling humiliated after she said salon workers shamed her for her lupus symptoms.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attacks its own healthy tissues. Brown has a specific kind of the disorder called discoid lupus erythematosus which affects the skin, leaving coin-sized lesions where her skin is exposed to the sun.
The lesions can be easily explained and pose no issues to anyone else – and they are not contagious in any way.
When Brown went to Happy Nails – where she was a regular – it happened to be the hottest day of the year and she had a flare-up.
“I was born and raised in Laguna Beach – there is no amount of sunblock or umbrellas [to prevent the flares],” she said. “The scars on my skin get red when I go outside.”
Since she wore a sundress in the salon, her skin condition was visible. The salon initially agreed to perform a manicure and pedicure for her.
But during her a pedicure, Brown said she could hear the women in the salon talking about her.
Then, when it came time for her manicure, employees told her that they would only do a polish change – in other words, just a quick coat of polish with no shaping, soaking, etc.
At first, Brown was told that they simply didn’t have time to do more, but she explained that there were plenty of workers just standing around.
Eventually, she was told it was because of her skin – despite there being no scars on her hands.
“I showed her my hands and she still denied me,” she told the local FOX News station.
According to Brown, a salon worker told her it wasn’t her hands they were worried about, but the rest of her skin.
That’s when Brown left the salon in tears.
“They made up so many excuses and lies. I have never been so publicly humiliated in my life!” she said.
From her car, she took to Facebook and posted a video telling her story and warning people not to use this salon.
“The one time I choose to go out in a sundress because its 110 degrees people judge me because I have lupus and my skin is broken out,” she said tearfully.
I never felt more like a leper and more judged in Orange County. I just want you to know you need to be nice to people. You don’t know whats going on with someone on the inside or outside for that matter.”
Brown’s video was shared widely and now has over 200,000 views.
While there are plenty of unhappy customers of the salon, according to even the most recent Yelp reviews, people also went online to slam the business on Brown’s behalf.
That’s when their attorney got involved.
The salon’s attorney explained that employees were just following the California Board of Cosmetology’s code which states: “No person…shall perform service upon a surface of the skin or scalp where such skin is inflamed, or broken…or where a skin infection or eruption is present.”
He says his clients were in no way discriminating against Brown but were protecting themselves:
“We at Happy Nails feel bad for the customer that presented with Lupus disease. We do not discriminate at Happy Nails. The customer interpreted our inability to work on her nails as discrimination. The workers are very hard working immigrants that would want nothing more than to provide the service. However, they must follow the mandates of the law.”
Brown says that despite being a regular at the salon, she doesn’t plan on returning and hopes that her experience will help raise awareness about lupus.
There are no updates since the story broke a year ago, but it doesn’t appear that any litigation is pending.
Scroll down to watch Brown’s video below.