Hairstyle Anti-Discrimination Law Passed In California

Posted July 12, 2019 by Mary McGinley

Men and women who have wanted to wear their natural hairstyles at school and on the job are now protected from discrimination in California, thanks to a new law that was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Mike Luery of KCRA Channel 3 reports that the bill known as the Crown Act became law in California on Wednesday, July 3rd. The law bans discrimination on the job and in schools over hairstyles.

Senate Bill 188 was introduced by Democratic Senator Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles. Mitchell, an African American woman who wears her hair in locks, said that she has personally witnessed discrimination over hairstyles – particularly those worn by black men and women.

During a press conference when Governor Newsom signed the bill into law, Mitchell explained the importance of the bill.

“Every Supreme Court case is going back to the ’80s when black women were trying to wear their hair braided to work in the banking industry or the airline industry, we’ve lost. Employers have won,” Mitchell said.”That’s why this bill is so critical.”

Akilah Hatchett-Fall who owns and operates the Sacred Crowns Salon in Sacramento recounts that she has heard horror stories from her clients about how they can’t get a job or be promoted from within unless they make their hair fall in line with what employers feel is more acceptable. Some women who come to Hatchett-Fall’s salon say they have felt as if they needed to take their braids off.

While the new law does make it illegal to discriminate against workers for their natural hair choices, employers may still require workers to secure their hair for hygiene and safety reasons.

Those who wish to dye their hair an unnatural color, however, are not protected under the new law.