July 8, 2022 • Jordan A. Fishman
Category: Legal Updates
With its implementation of the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (“CROWN”) Act in June, the City of Austin joins twelve states who have passed legislation amending the definition of the word “race” to include protections against hair discrimination. As a result, the City Code’s definition of “unlawful employment practice” will include “protective hairstyles,” which means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes, but is not limited to:
- Bantu knots.
- Hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
The CROWN Act was first introduced as federal legislation in 2019 to eliminate hair discrimination across the country as part of a national movement driven by the CROWN Coalition. The United States House passed the CROWN Act in March of this year and now the bill is heading to the Senate for a vote.
Austin’s passage of the CROWN Act resolution/ordinance will ensure that discrimination can be addressed before protections are introduced nationally. Austin is the first city in Texas to pass this act. We recommend that Texas employers review dress code and personal appearance policies to ensure that there isn’t any language that may conflict with this amendment.
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THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.