Is the banning of certain hairstyles discrimination?

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2020 | Race Discrimination |

For many people, their hairstyle is a part of their culture. For others, certain hairstyles just work better for their hairs texture and type. Often, these people are minorities. Many workplaces have tried to ban certain hairstyles, but it often ends with the employer in hot water. If you have to deal with a hairstyle ban in your workplace, it could be discrimination because it is likely that it unfairly targets people of a specific race.

According to ComplyRight, some states are taking a stance against employers who want to ban certain hairstyles. California and New Jersey both have passed legislation making it illegal for employers to prohibit employees from wearing natural hairstyles. Natural hairstyles include locks, braids, afros and twists.

The reason why hairstyles fall under discrimination protection is that they are often a characteristic of race. Discrimination under the law is when a policy, such as a dress code, limits or targets only one race or group of people. In this case, such hairstyle rules tend to only apply to black workers. It has to do with the differences in hair texture and type between certain races. Furthermore, when employers ban specific hairstyles that are culturally tied to a race, it targets only the people of this race.

Your employer can still set a dress code and set some limits for appearance. However, it should not be an outright ban of a particular hairstyle. It is understandable that employers want the workplace to look professional, but professional has many different meanings. In general, as long as your hair is clean, there should be no issue with how you style it.


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