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Racial discrimination in the workplace can be a hairy situation 

Much of history has been predominantly advertised to white beauty standards in offices. Not everyone is born with the acceptable beauty features that many advertisements try to impose on people. This has caused a large degree of racial discrimination based on how a person of color dresses, especially how they groom themselves.

A person of color’s hair is a large part of a race’s cultural identity. Workplace standards push people to forgo their culture in favor of conforming to their environment. Failing to conform could mean being subjected to nasty comments, a form of racial discrimination. There have been movements to reduce racial discrimination based on hairstyles.

California’s ban on hair discrimination 

Today, California has extended the definition of what is considered racial discrimination. An official ruling in 2019 concluded discrimination against a person’s natural hair, including its texture and hairstyle, would be considered racial discrimination. 

Known as the “Crown Act,” this law prohibits schools and employers to force grooming policies that would go against a race’s natural hair in California. 

Employers misplaced morals

Not every employer agrees with state or federal laws. They may consider laws to go against their beliefs and freedom. This may cause some employers to dismiss the Crown Act and enforce grooming policies despite the laws. This could include things like verbally communicating a grooming policy to employees of color that they know will violate the Crown Act to snide comments about an employee’s natural hair to try to intimidate them into changing their style.

Don’t let someone push you around over some arbitrary notion of what makes someone’s natural hair “unacceptable.” If you believe you have been a victim of racial discrimination because of your hair then you may be eligible for worker’s compensation. 


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