Lawsuit challenges licensure for shampoo technicians

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Current laws require some employees in beauty shops need a license to do something many people do on their own every day. People who shampoo hair for pay in Tennessee need licenses.

"I don't think that's fair at all," said plaintiff Tammy Nutall-Pritchard.

She told WREG Monday she does not want to cut or style hair. She wants to shampoo hair part-time. It is how she made money for a long time. She currently works in law enforcement.

"I think it's important, because it's a livelihood for people that's on low income," she said.

Nutall-Pritchard and conservative think tank The Beacon Center of Tennessee filed a lawsuit to challenge the state's requirement for a license to shampoo hair.

"She is fighting to stand up for her right to work, free from oppressive and frankly silly laws," said Beacon Center of Tennessee attorney Braden Boucek.

To be a shampoo technician requires 300 hours of "practice and theory of shampooing."

The state confirms it is unaware of schools that currently offer that specific licensure.

So that means people go for their cosmetology license, which is 1500 hours.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance declined to comment on the litigation. The lawsuit is against the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners.

"I think it is utterly ridiculous that you have to have some sort of state license to braid hair and to shampoo hair, and I think that we have got to make it much easier to go ahead and earn a living in this state," said state Sen. Brian Kelsey.

"We want to make Memphis a friendly atmosphere for businesses," said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

In 2013, the Association of African Hair Braiders of Memphis filed a federal lawsuit opposing the need for a license to braid hair. A judge dismissed that case.

Cosmetology complaint