Lawmakers Look To End Hair Discrimation Against Black Women
Black people, especially Black Women have been victims of discrimination since slavery until this very day. Time and time again, Black men and women have been forced to adhere to wear specific white approved hairstyles, or else risk losing their jobs, or not being hired, or being excluded from certain areas.
There are a number of cases, a lot last year and a few so far this year, where black children were sent home from school because of their hairstyles. ABC news reported that lawmakers in California are currently working on passing a law called to change that.
The Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair (CROWN) legislation will ensure protection against discrimination in the workplace based on hairstyles by prohibiting employers from enforcing purportedly “race-neutral” grooming policies that disproportionately impact persons of color. The Crown Act would make it illegal for employers to enforce policies surrounding discriminate against people wearing natural or protective styles — like braids, dreadlocks, and twists. To date, there is no legal precedent in state or federal court to protect individuals against hair discrimination.
Supporters of the crown act say it will help protect cultural identity.
If the law is passed, California would be following right behind cities like New York who also recently passed their own legislation which made hair discrimination illegal. Those found in violation of the law can face a penalty of up to $250,000, with no cap on damages, and would be subject to re-hiring those fired if it was proven that discrimination was involved.
One of the main supporters is The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance comprised of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change, and Dove. The coalition is proud to announce that it is sponsoring the CROWN Act.
“While anti-discrimination laws presently protect the choice to wear an afro, afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair,” said Senator Mitchell. “My bill will help ensure protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by specifying in government code that the protected class of race also includes traits historically associated with race identification, such as hair texture and hairstyles.”
The CROWN Coalition is dedicated to the advancement of anti-discrimination legislation across the United States, starting with the great state of California. The Coalition and its members believe that diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors. The CROWN Act corrects an inconsistency in existing anti-discrimination laws by amending the California Government Code to protect against discrimination based on traits historically associated with race such as hair texture and protective hairstyles. The Coalition, in support of The CROWN Act, aims to put an end to the significant injustices of hair discrimination that has spanned decades across the United States.
The CROWN Act is also being supported by organizations such as: ACLU California, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Anti-Defamation League, Black American Political Association of California, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Black Women Organized for Political Action, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Civil Liberties Advocacy, California Employment Lawyers Association, California School Board Association, California Teachers Association,…