A new hair discrimination law, known as the Crown Act, has Colorado civil rights activists rejoicing. The act prevents companies from discriminating against employees based on their hair. In particular, the Act is concerned with natural, race-based hairstyles such as braids, locs, and twists. These hairstyles are now extended statutory protection.
State Representatives Leslie Herod, Janet Buckner, Rhonda Fields, sponsored the bill.
“I think, quite frankly, a lot of Coloradans who don’t have to deal with these issues directly were appalled to learn that this was happening in Colorado — and was happening so often. For me just having the conversation really did change the debate and does work at changing people’s hearts,” Rep. Herod told 303 magazine.
Long overdue protection
Part of the motivation for the Act were studies showing black and indigenous women were more likely to be reprimanded for their hairstyles.
According to one study conducted by Dove, “the data supports the claim that black women’s hair is more policed in the workplace, thereby contributing to a climate of group control in the company culture and perceived barriers.”
Seven states total have passed the Act, with California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, and Virginia joining Colorado.
Even with new protections being introduced every year, workplace discrimination based on race, gender, and ethnicity is still commonplace.
Being denied employment or career advancement based on your race or gender is a humiliating, even traumatizing experience; yet far too many people still encounter discrimination every single day.
An experienced employment discrimination lawyer can help victims vindicate their rights. They can assist in filing a complaint with the EEOC and, if necessary, pursue litigation.