Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on certain protected classes – including race, color, religion, sex and national origin. These protections have since been expanded to include other classes, such as pregnancy, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and genetic information.
In March of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act. If it becomes law, it would represent another important protection against workplace discrimination.
What is the CROWN Act?
The CROWN Act is the first-of-its-kind federal bill that outlaws employment-based discrimination based on hair texture or style. Historically, this type of discrimination has targeted minority communities for wearing hairstyles associated with their race or national origin. The CROWN Act would make it illegal for employers to ban certain hairstyles or to discriminate based on one’s hair texture or style.
Why is it important?
While anti-discrimination laws based on race have existed for some time, Black women in particular have long faced discrimination in the workplace for wearing a hairstyle that did not conform to white standards of beauty. It is a type of race-based discrimination that has remained legal. The CROWN Act recognizes and condemns this type of discrimination that many people in the U.S. face on a daily basis.
The CROWN Act bill has just passed in the House of Representatives with a 235-189 vote. It now moves on to the Senate for a vote. If it passes there, then it will be sent to President Biden. If he approves the legislation, he will sign it into law.
If the CROWN Act passes, it will represent a giant step forward for a fairer workplace – and greater legal protections for communities who are all too often marginalized in their career.