OKLAHOMA CITY—Today, an Oklahoma eyebrow threader can legally operate her business, more than two years after she joined forces with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to challenge the state’s requirement that all eyebrow threaders obtain a costly, unrelated esthetician license.
Shazia Ittiq announced that her employee who needed a license to thread has received her threading license from the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering. This news paves the way for her to legally operate her business without requiring her employees to spend thousands of dollars and 600 hours on unrelated classes to obtain the more burdensome esthetician license.
“I’m excited to finally be able to run my business without my employees needing a license that has nothing to do with the work they’ll be doing here,” Shazia said.
Shazia and another small business owner, Seema Panjwani, sued the Cosmetology Board in February 2021. In the lawsuit they argued that the state’s requirement that their threading employees spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to obtain an unrelated license to perform their trade violated the Oklahoma Constitution. After their lawsuit began, the licensing board created a specialty license for threaders, which is less costly and only requires them to study things related to the work they’ll be performing.
“It never made logical sense to force Shazia’s and Seema’s employees, or any other threader, to spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn things that they won’t use,” said IJ Attorney Marie Miller. “We’re very happy that both Shazia and Seema can run their businesses without requiring their employees to spend money learning skills they don’t need.”
In addition to this lawsuit, IJ has a pending case against the Cosmetology Board over similar licensing requirements for eyelash extension specialists.
“Burdensome occupational licensing laws prevent hard-working people from earning an honest living,” said IJ President and Chief Counsel Scott Bullock. “We’re very glad that Shazia and Seema can now pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.”