New Law Alert: Employers Cannot Discrimination Based on Hairstyle

The CROWN Act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair, was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this month. The CROWN Act amends the Government Code to define "race or ethnicity" as "inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles." The law specifically references to "braids, locks, and twists."

So what does this mean? Will the law protect any and all types of hairstyles? The short answer is no. The underlying purpose of the CROWN Act is to protect "the right of Black Californians to choose to wear their hair in its natural form, without pressure to conform to Eurocentric norms," Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said. This new law will take effect on January 1, 2020.