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What is California’s CROWN Act?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Employment Discrimination |

California’s Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act is a significant step in combating racial discrimination in the workplace. Enacted in 2019, it extends the definition of racial discrimination to include hair texture and hairstyles.

The CROWN Act specifically addresses the disparities in how workplace dress codes and grooming policies have traditionally been applied. By including hair texture and protective styles in the state’s anti-discrimination laws, the Act provides a more inclusive understanding of racial discrimination.

Understanding the impact of the CROWN Act

The CROWN Act amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), making it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees and job applicants based on their natural hair. It acknowledges that policies prohibiting certain hairstyles, such as afros, braids, twists, and locs, disproportionately affect Black employees.

Application in the workplace

Under the CROWN Act, employers in California can’t enforce dress codes or grooming policies that disproportionately impact people of a particular race. This means that policies banning or limiting natural hairstyles are now unlawful. Employers must ensure that their policies are inclusive and don’t discriminate against natural hair textures and styles commonly associated with a specific race.

Implications for employees

For employees, the CROWN Act offers legal protection against discrimination based on their natural hair. This law empowers individuals to wear their hair in styles that reflect their racial, ethnic and cultural identities without fear of retribution in the workplace.

Workers who are subjected to discrimination because of their hairstyle have legal rights. Understanding these and protecting them is beneficial. Having experienced legal guidance can help.