California Bans Discrimination Based on Hairstyle

California Governor Gavin Newson recently signed the Crown Act into law, making California the first state in the United States to specifically prohibit employers and school officials from discriminating against people based on their natural hair.

The new law, which takes effect January 1, 2020, makes it illegal to enforce dress code or grooming policies against hairstyles such as afros, braids, twists, and locks.

“Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter black applicants and burden or punish black employees than any other group,” according to the law.

A few other jurisdictions have considered similar measures. In June, a bill intended to ban discrimination based on hairstyle was introduced in the New Jersey Legislature, and in February, New York City passed similar protections on the right to maintain natural hairstyles that are closely associated with racial, ethnic or cultural identities.

You can read the text of the new California law here:

This blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel for a review of your current dress code and grooming policy to ensure compliance or with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.

Written by Brittany Nichols