*California’s state assembly has unanimously voted to pass the Crown Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against natural hairstyles and textures.
The bill, which the Senate approved in April, updates the state’s anti-discrimination law so that the term “race” includes “traits historically associated with race,” CNN reports.
“Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group,” the bill’s text stated.
California’s new measure is set to be the first state to ban natural hair discrimination in the United States. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom to be signed into law.
State Sen. Holly Mitchell has led the charge on this act, In a speech made earlier this year she noted, “A Google image search for ‘unprofessional hairstyles’ yielded only pictures of Black women with their natural hair or wearing natural braids or twists.”
She continued, “Although disheartening, not very surprising.”
Prior to California’s new law, New York City passed similar guidelines which banned policies that penalize Black folks based on their natural hair and hairstyles.
The protections noted the rights of people to maintain their “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”