October 4, 2016

No one should be forced to quit their job and spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars learning things that have nothing to do with their job. But that is exactly what the Louisiana Board of Cosmetology wants eyebrow threaders to do.

Eyebrow threading is an all-natural technique that uses a single strand of cotton thread—and nothing else—to remove unwanted eyebrow hair. But Louisiana forces those wishing to practice this simple technique in the state to get an esthetician’s license, which means they have to quit their jobs to attend cosmetology school and spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars learning techniques that have nothing to do with threading. Needless to say, this is something most threaders cannot afford to do. If these licensing requirements sound familiar, it is because they are the same requirements for threaders that the Texas Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in a landmark decision that IJ secured in 2015.

IJ represents Lata Jagtiani, an Indian immigrant who moved to Louisiana in search of a better life. She has been threading eyebrows for most of her life and dreamed of opening her own threading business. Her dream was realized when she opened the Threading Studio & Spa in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Lata’s business was a success—until the Board cracked down on her for employing unlicensed threaders. The Board ordered her to fire these unlicensed threaders—including her most experienced threaders, Ushaben Chudasama and Panna Shah—and hire licensed estheticians, who do not know how to thread. Because of these licensing requirements, Ushaben and Panna are now out of work and Lata’s business is being driven into the ground.

Louisiana cannot force eyebrow threaders to waste time and money learning things that have nothing to do with their occupation. That is why IJ has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ushaben, Panna and the Threading Studio & Spa challenging the state’s licensing requirements for eyebrow threaders under the Louisiana Constitution. With this case, we are asking a simple question: Why do these laws exist? Although this question may seem easy enough, getting an answer from the government is much more difficult. That is because laws like these are nearly impossible to justify. A victory here will not just pave the way for threaders to earn an honest living; it will also help pave the way for entrepreneurs across the state to pursue their calling free from unnecessary licensing.

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