Both the New York State Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act were expanded last Friday to ban race discrimination based on “natural hair or hairstyles,” including, but not limited to, “braids, locks and twists.” The law, called the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, takes effect immediately.
The change bans schools and businesses from having policies on hair that largely impact minorities. Supporters of the expansion say minorities often face discrimination that is cloaked as criticism of their hair texture or style. Black women are reportedly 1.5 times more likely to have reported being sent home from work because of their hair. Employers should review their handbooks and policies to ensure that any grooming policies are compliant and up to date.