In California, It Will Soon Be Illegal To Discriminate Against Someone Because Of Their Natural Hair Texture Or Style
The California workplace is about to get a lot more inclusive.
On Thursday, California’s state assembly unanimously voted to pass the Crown Act, a bill that will ban employers from discriminating against people with natural hairstyles and textures, including afros, locs, twists, cornrows and other ‘dos that have largely been used as a method to treat Black workers, in particular, unfairly.
The Crown Act, which was introduced by Sen. Holly Mitchell, is now heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, who will sign it into law, PEOPLE reports.
The legislation, the first-ever statewide ban on natural hair discrimination, will expand on California’s anti-discrimination laws, ensuring that the definition of “race” goes beyond skin color and includes “traits historically associated with race.”
“There are still far too many cases of Black employees and applicants denied employment or promotion — even terminated — because of the way they choose to wear their hair,” Mitchell told CNN. “I have heard far too many reports of black children humiliated and sent home from school because their natural hair was deemed unruly or a distraction to others.”
In December, a Black high school wrestler in New Jersey was forced to cut his locks by a referee just before a match. The news made national headlines and prompted outcries of discrimination throughout social media. This month, the state legislature introduced a bill that would similarly update New Jersey’s discrimination law to include protection for “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.”
“This is a movement to protect Black citizens from systematic discrimination because of a hairstyle,” New Jersey State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight told NJ.com. “We’re more than that. This is a civil rights issue.”
A similar ban against natural hair discrimination already exists in New York City.