As the fight against hair discrimination continues, California habs become the first state in the United States of America to protect employees and students from experiencing discrimination because of their hair texture and cultural hairstyles.
On 3rd July 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace (CROWN) Act into law, making it illegal for employers and educational institutions to enforce dress code or grooming rules that would unfairly target black people from wearing cultural hairstyles such as afros, braids, cornrows, twists and locs.
Surrounded my black women, California Governor Newsom signs the CROWN act, which prohibits natural hair discrimination in schools, businesses. pic.twitter.com/CMY5DQr7uK— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) July 3, 2019
The CROWN Act acknowledges the risk of discrimination especially against black people based on traits such as hair texture and natural hairstyles that are commonly worn in the black community.
The content of the law acknowledges that black people are disproportionately impacted and prevented from working at some workplaces based on hair discrimination:
“The history of our nation is riddled with laws and societal norms that equated “blackness,” and the associated physical traits, for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair to a badge of inferiority, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment.
This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism. Professionalism was, and still is, closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional.
Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals.
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.
In a society in which hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race, and whether they were a second class citizen, hair today remains a proxy for race. Therefore, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.”
The CROWN Act will go into effect on 1st January 2020. It will protect employees at work and students in public primary and secondary schools who have natural hair or protective hairstyles.
Employers in Calfornia has been encouraged to review their policies and remove any rules that prevent natural hairstyles. As well as, training their employees, specifically managers, supervisors or team leaders about hair discrimination. This will ensure their workplace are compliant with the new law.
CURLYTREATS will continue to update news about The CROWN Act.
For full information see: The Official Campaign of the CROWN Act