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Hair Texture and Style Discrimination in the Workplace

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For years, minority employees have been discriminated against based on their hairstyles. Many African Americans in the American workforce have experienced race discrimination for the way they wear their hair. The discrimination is disproportioned and focuses mainly on minorities. When one googles what hairstyles are inappropriate to wear to a job interview, images of braids, locks and natural hairstyles pop up. These images mainly consist of pictures of African Americans. For the disadvantaged African American, race discrimination is an ongoing issue in corporate America. If you are tired of allowing your employer to cause you any further humiliation, then contact a race discrimination attorney to evaluate your racial discrimination claims.

Issues with the way African Americans choose to wear their hair at schools and the workplace is not new to those who are immediately affected by its cruel demands. These issues have been highlighted by media coverage and the fast delivery of our news information. More recently, such discrimination was emphasized when a video surfaced of a young wrestler who was given an unfair ultimatum by a referee of cutting of his dreadlocks or forfeiting the match. The young African American man chose to cut his dreads off to be permitted to participate in the wrestling match. Needless to say, the video of the young man having his dread locks cut off went viral. There was an uproar involving all races that saw this as an unjust form of discrimination. Dread locks have a historical meaning within the African American community that carry a sense of pride with them. They are meant to celebrate the African American culture. Unfortunately, this young man’s experience was meant to create shame and defeat any sense of pride he possessed. This issue that the news media brought so much attention to was not the first of its nature, but it did call out lawmakers to do something about it.

Many different cultures have complained about being discriminated against for their hair and the attorneys in California do view this as race discrimination. The attention that this occurrence brought to the issue was escalated to Democrat Senator Holly Mitchell who introduced the bill to eliminate racial discrimination presented with hair issues. The law that went into effect 1/2/2020 will be referenced as the Crown Act. Gavin Newson of California is the first to pass such a law. Hopefully other states will follow California’s lead in eliminating hairstyle discrimination in the workplace. The law states that enforcing a dress code or grooming policies against hairstyles such as afros, braids and twists would be illegal and deemed as race discrimination. The law is meant to foster inclusion and diversity. Senator Holly Mitchell’s hope is that with this new law, employers and schools will practice inclusion and welcoming diversity when creating their grooming policies. Mitchell was quoted stating, “I believe that any law, policy or practice that sanctions a job description that immediately excludes me from a profession – not because of my capacity or capabilities or my experience but because of my hairstyle choice – is long overdue for reform.” Mitchell herself has been known to wear her hair in its natural form. Similar state and federal laws are in place to protect against discrimination due to religious hairstyles and head coverings. If you believe that your religion has been a point of discrimination, please contact our discrimination attorneys at Mesriani Law Group so your rights can be protected.


What Can I Do if I am being discriminated against for my Hairstyle or Texture?

Mesriani Law Group has been successful in representing discrimination victims and obtaining the best outcome. If your hair has been the focus of discrimination in the workplace, please do not hesitate to reach out to our discrimination attorneys at Mesriani Law Group.

About the Author
Picture of Rodney Mesriani
Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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