As Hair Discrimination Bans Grow, New York City Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule

July 3, 2020, marked the one-year anniversary of California becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to pass the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, prohibiting discrimination based on natural hairstyles and textures. One year later, many more jurisdictions have followed suit.

The CROWN Act is now law in seven states – California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington and Maryland – and eight additional states have either pre-filed, filed or formally stated an intent to introduce their own bills outlawing hair discrimination, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina. On August 11, Nebraska also passed a bill but was promptly vetoed by the governor. A further 15 states introduced bills that failed to move through the legislature before the end of the legislative session. Companion bills were also introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in late 2019.

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“Hair Love” Coming to a Jurisdiction Near You

With the Oscar win for best animated short film, Hair Love shone a spotlight on California’s CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), which prohibits discrimination based on natural hairstyles and textures. Bills addressing hairstyle discrimination are now pending in 21 statehouses around the country, with several municipalities considering their own legislation. With companion bills already pending in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, a version of the CROWN Act is likely to become law in a jurisdiction near you soon.

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