CROWN Act and Natural Hairstyles

03.03.20Baylee Olsen

California’s “CROWN Act” stands for Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair. It prohibits discrimination based on natural hairstyles and textures that can include styles such as braids, locks, twists, and many more. Bills addressing hairstyle discrimination are now pending in 21 statehouses around the country, with several municipalities considering their own legislation. Now that this bill is not just going to be exclusive to California, a version of the CROWN Act will most likely make its way to a jurisdiction near you. 

This bill is built on the foundation that hair remains a “proxy for race” and discriminating someone based on their hairstyle is a form of racial discrimination. Evidence from a research survey of 1,000 African American women and 1,000 non-African American women found that African American women were more likely to receive a formal workplace grooming policy during the hiring process. This survey also found that African American women were 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace due to their hairstyle than non-African American women.

SDHR Consulting is here to support you review your current grooming and dress code policies to ensure they do not discriminate based on race, including natural and protective hairstyles. If you do not currently have these policies in place, we will work directly with your company to implement policies and procedures that comply directly with the CROWN Act. In addition to introducing accurate policies, it is crucial to train your employees on the importance of equality and the enforcement of grooming and dress code policies. SDHR Consulting offers a wide range of training services that assist in educating employees on equality and providing an inclusive and welcoming work environment.