The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a measure that would protect employees from discrimination based on natural hair and hairstyles associated with race and national origin.
The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act—HR 2116—passed the House in a 235-to-189 vote on March 18.
The proposed legislation would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against workers based on "hair texture or hairstyle, if that hair texture or that hairstyle is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin."
This would be the first piece of federal legislation addressing appearance discrimination as it specifically relates to a worker's protected characteristic—in this case, race.
Employers should note that some states already protect workers based on natural hair and hairstyle. California became the first state to pass a CROWN Act in 2019, and more states and cities followed suit.