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‘The CROWN Act’ To End Hair Discrimination In The Workplace And Schools Passes Senate Vote In California

SB 188 Introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell Sponsored by National Urban League, Dove, Color of Change and Western Center on Law & Poverty

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The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance comprised of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change, and Dove, is proud to announce the bill they are sponsoring, Senate Bill 188 (The CROWN Act), passed the Senate floor today in California. 

Introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell, SB 188 aims to “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (the CROWN Act) by clarifying that traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and hairstyle, be protected from discrimination in the work place and in our K-12 public and charter schools.

“Many Black employees, including your staff, members, will tell you if given the chance that the struggle to maintain what society has deemed a ‘professional image’ while protecting the health and integrity of their hair remains a defining and paradoxical struggle in their work experience, not usually shared by their non-Black peers,” said Senator Mitchell shortly before the Senate vote.  “Members, it is 2019. Any law that sanctions a job description that immediately excludes me from a position, not because of my capabilities or experience but because of my hair, is long overdue for reform.”

The C.R.O.W.N. (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair) Act will ensure protection against discrimination in the workplace and schools based on hairstyles by prohibiting employers and schools from enforcing purportedly “race neutral” grooming policies that disproportionately impact persons of color.   Additionally, while anti-discrimination laws presently protect the choice to wear an Afro, Afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. SB 188 will ensure protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Education Code.

“Dove has been committed to championing real beauty for women and girls for decades, and believes the individuality of all of our hair should be celebrated,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of North America Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever.  “As a proud member of the CROWN Coalition, we’re overjoyed to see that the California Senate passed SB 188, and look forward to continuing to drive equity and fairness for all women and men, particularly around hair inclusivity.”

The CROWN Act corrects an inconsistency in existing anti-discrimination laws by amending the California Government and Education Codes to protect against discrimination based on traits historically associated with race such as hair texture and protective hairstyles.  The Coalition, in support of The CROWN Act, aims to put an end to the significant injustices of hair discrimination that has spanned decades across the United States.

The CROWN Coalition
The CROWN Coalition is a national alliance comprised of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change, and Dove as sponsors of Senate Bill 188 ‘The Crown Act’.  The CROWN Coalition members believe diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors.

For more information on SB 188 ‘The CROWN Act’ click here to see the legislation.


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