CROWN Act: Race Discrimination Protections Expanded to Traits Historically Associated with Race Such
In 2020, California became the first U.S. state to prohibit discrimination against employees who choose to wear their hair in its natural state. The CROWN Act,which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hair style and hair texture. The Act amends the California Education Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s definition of race to include traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles. Protective hairstyles include, but are not limited to, “braids, locks, and twists.”
First introduced in California in January 2019 by Senator Holly Mitchell (District 30), the CROWN Act expanded the definition of race in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Education Code, to ensure protection in workplaces and in K-12 public and charter schools. The inaugural CROWN Act was signed into law by Governor Newsom in California on July 3rd and went into effect January 1, 2020. It is the first legislation passed at the state level in the United States to prohibit such discrimination.
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