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The battle against natural hair discrimination

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2019 | Employment Law

Discrimination can come in various forms and ways. Recently, various parties have started to shine a light on hair discrimination, particularly against black women.

While awareness and prevention of this type of discrimination are still growing, there is growing relief in the form of legal action. There are a few key things to understand about this matter.

The issue

Over the last year, headlines of women and young girls of color facing obstacles due to their hairstyles continue to arise. While these ladies view their hairstyles as a form of self-expression or a way to protect their hair, various organizations, from major companies to local schools, claim that the styles are “unnatural” or “inappropriate.” However, such claims serve as attacks, inadvertent as they may be, against the natural way that their hair grows and the traditional ways that women of color have worn their hair for centuries.

The workplace

As more public figures begin to speak out about this issue, it is becoming more of a topic of conversation and reveals how the controlling manner in which certain organizations approach the topic of women’s hair may be an infringement on their civil rights. Through this enlightenment, various companies are changing their policies to become more inclusive.

The regulations

Along with company policies, certain states are putting forth efforts to spark change in their local communities. California and New York recently put legislation in place to ban hair discrimination in the workplace and schools. These regulations expand the definition of race to include the natural way women’s hair grows, and how they traditionally wear it.

While California and New York are setting the scene, other states are joining in as well. In fact, New Jersey legislators have a proposal in play. Hopefully, as more states begin to follow suit, the workplace will experience a decrease in this form of discrimination and its ramifications.