On September 21, H.R.5309, more commonly known as the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), was passed in the House. If the bill is passed into law it would federally prohibit employers, among others, from discriminating on the basis of natural hair. Natural hair, as defined in the bill, is “natural or protective hairstyles in which hair is tightly coiled or tightly curled, or worn in locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, or Afros.”
The CROWN Act has already been enacted at a state level in California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Virginia, and Colorado. However, if passed at a federal level, the bill would make it an unlawful practice under Title VII and Section 1983 for employers to discriminate against employees and applicants with natural hair.
For many employers, passage of this bill will require a revamping of policies and dress codes to remove outdated prohibitions on natural and protective hairstyles most commonly worn by African American employees.
For more information on how the CROWN Act may impact you, contact us for a free, 30-minute consultation with an employment lawyer.