It might come as a surprise to some, but it is entirely possible to discriminate based on a hairstyle. Not only that, but this is actually rampant in the workplace.
What exactly does discrimination by hairstyle look like? Why is this considered a form of discrimination in the first place?
What is the CROWN Act?
The Society for Human Resource Management discusses a bill on the way that will help reduce discrimination based on a hairstyle.
On March 18, an act called The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act was passed. This bill directly targets discrimination against specifically African American workers and other workers with natural hair.
National origin and race ended up conflated with certain hairstyles and textures over the years. Unfortunately, it is no secret in the African American community that people have missed out on job opportunities due to having hairstyles representing their culture.
Protective or natural hairstyles can include Bantu knots, Afros, twists, cornrows, braids or locs. It can also include hair that is tightly curled or coiled.
Protections under the CROWN Act
With this legislation, employers cannot refuse to hire, fire or otherwise discriminate against an employee specifically for their hairstyle or texture. In specific, if the texture or hairstyle is “commonly associated with a particular race or national origin”, they cannot discriminate against a prospective employee or current employee for wearing it.
This is a good way of protecting an important piece of a worker’s racial or cultural identity and preventing discrimination from happening within a work environment.