August 01, 2022

The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act movement in the US aims to prohibit discrimination based on natural hair texture or hairstyles that are normally associated with race, such as braids, locs, twists, curls, cornrows, afros, head wraps or bantu knots. The official campaign of the CROWN Act is led by the CROWN Coalition. Federal legislation, supported by the Biden administration, passed the house in March 2022. Eighteen states have already passed CROWN Acts, and many others are considering legislation. To help employers ensure their employee handbooks and appearance policies are nondiscriminatory and in compliance with federal, state and local laws, this roundup provides links to federal and state resources from organizations, government websites, third-party resources and news articles.

Federal

Existing federal law prohibits some forms of hair discrimination as a type of racial, religious or national origin discrimination, but some federal courts have narrowly construed these protections. The CROWN Act (HR 2116), which bans discrimination based on hair textures and hairstyles that are commonly associated with a particular race or national origin, passed the House of Representatives on March 18, 2022 by a 235-189 vote and will now be considered by the Senate. The Biden administration has endorsed the legislation, saying it would “bolster the strength of our economy and advance equal opportunity for all Americans.”
 

States

Currently, eighteen states have enacted CROWN legislation (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Washington), and the Virgin Islands. Numerous other states are considering the legislation.
 

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Illinois

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Nebraska

Nevada

  • SB 327 (Legislature, June 2, 2021)

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

Oregon

Tennessee

Virginia

Washington

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group


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