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California Outlaws Hair Discrimination

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law in July a ban on
policies that discriminate against those with natural hair, defining discrimination against hairstyles which are “historically associated with race” as a type of racial discrimination.
The law, called the CROWN Act, follows in the footsteps of New York City,
which introduced guidance against workplace discrimination based on employees’ hairstyles in February. Afros are considered an “immutable racial characteristic” by the federal courts and are therefore already protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The CROWN Act expands anti-discrimination law to include protections for all-natural hairstyles, such as twists and braids.
The law identifies workplace bans on natural hair as enforcing a Eurocentric image of professionalism through purportedly race-neutral grooming policies that disparately impact Black individuals,” arguing that such policies prevent equal opportunity. The CROWN Act will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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