New Jersey Becomes the Third State to Ban Hair Discrimination

Photo: Stocksy/Brkati Krokodil
In July 2019, California passed the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace Act (CROWN Act), a law protecting people from hair discrimination in workplaces and schools. New York quickly followed suit. On Thursday, New Jersey became the third state to adopt the legislation.

"Race-based discrimination will not be tolerated in the State of New Jersey," Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey said in a press release. "No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or be discriminated against because of their natural hair. I am proud to sign this law in order to help ensure that all New Jersey residents can go to work, school, or participate in athletic events with dignity."

The bill accomplishes this important, historical mission by amending the current race discrimination law for "traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles." Twelve more U.S. states are currently considering the CROWN Act.

In late 2018, a referee asked high school wrestler to cut his “unnatural” hair mid-match, reports The Undefeated. The CROWN Act recognizes that hair is never just hair; it can be a vital part of identity with cultural and emotional histories braided into each strand.

"While natural hair might seem like an irrelevant front in the never-ending battle against discrimination, we know that hair discrimination is too often used as a proxy for racism in ways that directly impact the success of people of color in schools, courtrooms, and board rooms," Amol Sinha, executive director of ACLU-NJ tells CBS News. Hopefully, the CROWN Act's passage in New Jersey inspires other states to offer protection for this particular type of systemic racism.

Meet Esi Eggleston Bracey, COO of Unilever who is fighting hair discrimination. Plus, what a derm wants you to know about hair loss

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