Women claim 'good moral character' clause is keeping them from cosmetology jobs

A new lawsuit is calling into question what exactly constitutes "good moral character" when it comes to being licensed in certain professions.

Two local women say the "good moral character" clause and past legal issues have stopped them from getting a cosmetology license.

Amanda Spillane's dream job in cosmetology remains just out of reach despite her schooling, training, certificates, and recommendations. That's because Amanda spent two years in jail in her younger life of drugs and crime.

"It's been 10 years since I've been clean and I've been doing well and it's still holding me back," Amanda said.

Amanda says she would like to get off public assistance and earn a decent living, but she doesn't meet the state's "good moral character code" for cosmetology.

Attorney Andrew Ward of the non-profit Institute for Justice announced a lawsuit in the shadow of Independence Hall.

Amanda, of Northeast Philadelphia, and Courtney Haveman of Yardley, say their constitutional right to work is being denied and that the same rule would not apply, if they were men seeking a barbers' license.

"It makes no sense that you would need a good moral character to tweeze a hair and not to shave one," Ward explained.