Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission Reaches Settlement in Retail Investigation

DES MOINES, IOWA – Friday, December 17, 2021 – A retail store chain has agreed to pay $90,000 and implement changes following an investigation conducted by the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission. The Commission found discriminatory business practices that violated the City of Des Moines’ human rights ordinance.  While the store disagreed with the Commission’s findings, they have agreed to resolve this matter.

At this specific store location in Des Moines, hair products generally marketed to customers with textured or natural hair were removed from the haircare aisle and were placed in a separate part of the store. The Commission’s investigation found the reasoning behind the separate placement of these products was based on discrimination.

“Discrimination is not tolerated in Des Moines,” said Chief Equity Officer and Interim Civil & Human Rights Director Manisha Paudel. “As a City government, we want to ensure that civil rights of all residents and visitors are protected in Des Moines. The investigative work of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission is an important piece in making that happen.”

Des Moines Municipal Code prohibits any business from practices that create an unreasonable difference in treatment because of age, race, religion, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, disability, and/or familial status.

The Des Moines store committed to moving the textured hair products back to where customers would reasonably expect to find them.

“We hope this settlement raises awareness among business owners and customers to prevent similar discrimination at other retailers in our community,” said Paudel.

The $90,000 settlement funding provided to the Commission as part of the conciliation agreement will be utilized for outreach and education campaigns. In addition, a portion of the total funding will be redistributed to local non-profit organization(s). A vote on the decision to distribute the funds will be held at a Commission meeting in the near future.

Any person who believes they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission at (515) 283-4284 or Discrimination complaints may also be filed online at

Municipal code protects the confidentiality of all parties involved in a settled complaint.

Manisha Paudel
Chief Equity Officer/Interim Director, Civil & Human Rights Department
(515) 283-4284

About the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission
The Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission works to foster justice and equality for all people who live or visit Des Moines by creating an atmosphere of opportunity regardless of: race, color, creed, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, physical and mental disability or family status. More information is available at

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 214,000 residents, 52 neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.